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Howland beefs up its fire department

HOWLAND — A new firefighter/paramedic joined the ranks of Howland’s department Wednesday.

Steven Mauch fills a position left open when a firefighter changed departments, said Fire Chief James Pantalone. Mauch was sworn in by trustee James LaPolla during the meeting, and was presented his helmet by his wife, Heather Mauch.

Mauch has worked as a paramedic at Sharon Regional Hospital since 2013, and was working part-time with the Brookfield and Cortland fire departments. He was recently honored by Cortland officials for being one of the first responders who helped save the life of Cortland police officer Nicholas Mancini, who suffered a heart attack and crashed his cruiser while on duty in September.

Mauch will receive 80 percent of the base rate for firefighter pay of $16.06 and additional medic per pay of $50.

Also Wednesday, Pantalone recognized four instructors who have taken on leadership positions at the Howland Training Center, which offers firefighter 1 and 2 and EMT classes. Capt. Lance Blair received recognition for his leadership of the Trumbull Career and Technical Center EMT Class, and Lt. James Williamson for leading the fire class. Firefighter/paramedics Randy Stottelmire and Chris Olsen were recognized for their work in the recently re-established HTC Fire Academy.

“As a fire department, we also have a training center,” Pantalone said. “These four have taken on lead instructor positions.”

Pantalone said the Fire Academy, in its third year, has been very successful, with 100 percent passage rates in the first two years. The program has on average a dozen students.

The HTC has been in existence for about 20 years, Pantalone said, with instructors and students from all over Trumbull County. The next firefighter 1 and EMT courses begin in January, according to Assistant Chief James Sapp.

“We bring people back too,” said Pantalone, who added that oftentimes, graduates of the program return to work in Howland.

Mauch completed the firefighter 1, 2 and EMT training classes at HTC years ago, Pantalone said.

Two part-time hires for the fire department also were approved Wednesday. Alex Clark and Collin Dales will work “as needed” at $12.39 per hour with no benefits.

Pantalone said the part-time hires help the department keep up a “good active roster.”

With the passage of the 2.25-mill fire levy on Nov. 5, Pantalone said he expects to next year hire firefigthers for three additional positions and one to fill a position left open because of budgeting constraints. He said the goal is to have the manpower to reopen the Bolindale fire station.

In other firefighter news, trustees approved the retirement of part-time firefighter / EMS instructor Joseph McCleary, whose last day of instruction was Sept. 28. McCleary is also a part-time firefighter with the department and is planning to retire from that position in December, Pantalone said.

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