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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Friendship Fire Chief Resigns

Friendship — Selectman Elizabeth Dinsmore confirmed March 25 that Friendship Fire Chief Philip Bramhall has resigned.

Selectmen voted at their March 22 meeting to appoint Kyle Martin to the position of fire chief and Kevin Benner has been named captain, according to Dinsmore. At the same meeting they accepted Bramhall's resignation as fire chief.

"It was an honor and a privilege to serve the town of Friendship in the fire department for 37 years," Bramhall said March 26. He said he joined the department at the age of 13.

He has also plowed snow for the town. He served as a selectman and assessor for five years. He will continue to serve as the town's director of emergency management.

"I've given to my community, given service to the town and enjoyed every bit of it," he said.
He said opinion differences had arisen in the fire department.

"I didn't feel like I could resolve them to everybody's satisfaction," he said. "I felt it was in the best interest of the town to step down."

He added that his wife said it would be nice to have him around more.

"I've worked with a great group of guys," he said. "In every organization, not everyone agrees on everything."

He said he wanted to thank all of the people who have volunteered their time with the fire department while he has been chief.

Bramhall cited personal reasons in his resignation letter, according to Selectman Wesley Lash. He said disagreements had arisen between the leadership in the fire department and some junior members in the department that could not be resolved.

At one point the fire chief, selectmen and members of the volunteer fire department met behind closed doors in an attempt to resolve the issues, Lash said. He said some of the disagreements had gone on for a long time.

Lash said town officials wanted to set up further meetings and that plan was refused.
"None of those fellows wanted to see him resign," Lash said of the fire department members. "They just wanted him to listen to their grievances."

Bramhall served as the town's fire chief for nine years. Lash had been fire chief before that.
Martin is also the town's road commissioner. Dinsmore said he was the only one who put in for the fire chief position.

Martin has been a member of the fire department for more than 20 years, according to Lash. He has completed Fire Fighter I and II courses. In addition, he has National Incident Management System qualifications through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.





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