The new chief for the embattled Newton Fire Department is expressing optimism about the future.
Steven Kelly has been a firefighter for 27 years; he spent the latter part of that time in Meridian.
In recent years the Newton Fire Department has had several different chiefs. In fact, in July of this year the number of full-time firefighters there dropped from seven to five. At the same time, the number of volunteers also suffered.
Since being hired in August, Kelly says the department has become fully staffed with full-time firefighters. There are also now 17 volunteers.
"We got some new staff hired in and things seem to be going really good right now," says Chief Kelly. "Our moral is up real high. We're getting some of our volunteers back. Since we're a combination department we depend on our volunteers a lot and they're doing a great job mentoring some of the younger guys. So, we're moving forward and doing really good."
Chief Kelly wants to increase the number of volunteer firefighters to at least 25. To do this, the department is sponsoring a Volunteer Field Day Saturday, October 27th at the Newton Fire Department.