Vernon Volunteer Fire Department

Fire Chief

On July 5, 1951 the Vernon Volunteer Fire Department held their first meeting. It was decided at this meeting, that the membership would be limited to “25 men, plus several call men” it was also established that Cersosimo was to be called for daytime fires, and Dick Severence or Ted Pratt was to be called for nighttime fires.

“On July 9, 1951 the fire truck was tested and found to be satisfactory. Two men were broken in as operators. The Hale pump did not operate properly, and was taken for repairs.”

Over 70 years, a lot has changed since that first meeting was held, we have transitioned from a phone tree alert system, to a siren, to pagers, and now text message and email notifications are sent to us, regardless of our location.

Rather than simply responding to fire calls and accidents, we now respond for Emergency Medical Service calls, Hazardous Materials incidents, Automatic fire alarms, Carbon Monoxide issues, and the list goes on.

The days of going into a burning structure with no breathing protection are long diminished, now we wear a self-contained breathing apparatus, which gives us about twenty minutes of work time, and protects us from the carcinogens and other unknown chemicals that are produced from the products caused by the combustion of modern materials.

Our trainings have evolved into a heightened awareness of the dangers that we face with lightweight construction, and the importance of recognition of rapidly developing fire growth that we encounter due to the increased fire load and rapid fire spread from these lightweight materials.

Vehicle speed has significantly increased, and vehicle safety devices have created an added level of hazard when removing occupants from a vehicle, thus dramatically changing the tactics that we apply when responding to an accident scene.

Water has become wetter. We now inject an additive of foam concentrate that causes the surface tension of the water to break down and better penetrate into the burning materials, as well as increase the surface area of the water and allow for more heat absorption thus increasing the cooling effect that water provides.

Additionally, through these years we have been served by many who have dedicated their time and lives to make this town safer, and to provide assistance to our citizens. Following are the Chiefs who have led this department through the past 70 years:*

  • Michael Zaluzny
  • Arthur Edson
  • Raymond Capen
  • Peter Crossman
  • Robert McCarvel
  • Randy Wheelock
  • Steven Holton
  • Terrance Parker
  • James Liebfried
  • Michael Pratt
  • Tom Fox
  • David Andrews
  • Todd Capen

Although much has changed in the past seven decades, our basic mission is the same; to protect and serve the citizens of this community in the event of a fire, medical emergency, hazardous materials incident, natural disaster, or other emergency incident that warrants our assistance. It is our goal as a department to continually improve on how we provide service to this town, and to evaluate as we go to ensure that we continue to fulfill our basic mission, regardless to how the world is changing around us.

Currently, our personnel roster consists of:

  • Alex Dunklee (Chief)
  • Spencer Bristol (Assistant Chief)
  • Mike Pratt (EMS Captain)
  • Tasha Cross (EMS Lieutenant)
  • Bruce Burks (Chaplain)
  • EMS Providers: Pam Amato, Katie Baldwin, Zachary Gilbeau, Katie Richardson
  • Firefighters & EMS: John Wheelden
  • Firefighters & EMS support: Timothy Alexander, Bradley Betit, Travis Franklin, Joshua Griffus, Sara Moye, Tyler Pratt, Ryan Snow
  • EMS & Firefighter Support: Jonathan Hall, Victoria Hall, Bryan Hemingway, Beth Houle, Jemez Jobin
  • Support Personnel: Kenneth Bloom, Caitlin Foley, Tina Franklin, Faith Jobin, Meagan Pratt

Thank you for your support, as well as for allowing us to continue serving you- the citizens of our community, and those who visit here.

I would also like to personally extend my sincerest thanks to the folks who have been working tirelessly to ensure that the restructuring of our fire department is successful and sustainable. There are so many who given assistance, it would be difficult to name some, while knowing that so many more have helped in ways both big and small. Regardless of whether you have offered your support or your time, the generosity of our community, as well as of our surrounding communities has been substantial. Thank You.

On behalf of the Vernon Volunteer Fire Department,

Chief Alex Dunklee (Contact: firechief@vernonvt.org)

*The list provided may contain errors or omissions, and was formulated with information available at the time of printing