Andrew Hupper, left, and Lance Maginnis II started this month as full-time firefighters for Anson. Photo courtesy of Tammy Murray

ANSON — Two volunteer firefighters are now working as paid, full-time members of the Fire Department as Anson continues the trend in the region of towns pursuing full-time first responders rather than relying on a dwindling number of volunteers available to respond to emergency calls.

Anson residents this spring OK’d the spending plan to cover the salaries of the two firefighters, and the two men began their full-time status last week.

“We mirrored our full-time firefighters program after the Norridgewock program which was started a couple of years ago,” Anson Town Clerk Tammy Murray said in an email.

In addition to Norridgewock, the residents of Oakland at the annual Town Meeting in May chose to move to a full-time force at a cost of nearly $470,000.

People in Anson voted in March to OK the two full-time positions and also approved the purchase of a new $717,000 fire truck and boat for the department.

The town is hoping federal grants are available to cover not only the cost of the fire truck but also construction of a new fire station to replace an aging one.


Fire Chief Stacey Beane said a new building would cost $2 million. There’s no timeline for the project because the town is still working to secure the federal money to cover the construction, she said.

The two firefighters now working full time are Lance Maginnis II and Andrew Hupper. It will cost $84,000 to fund the positions and the money is to come from fire reserve funds, taxation and the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

The pair also will help staff the Anson-Madison-Starks Ambulance service to help curb a worker shortage ambulance services are also facing.

The 30-year-old Maginnis said he has been involved with firefighting for several years.

“I’ve always loved being a firefighter, and the opportunity came so I applied,” he said.

Maginnis previously worked as a driver for the local ambulance company. He is also studying for his EMS licensure exam. He holds the rank of lieutenant for the Fire Department.


Having full-time coverage in Anson will increase the mutual aid assistance in Somerset County, officials said. Beane said the positions will also decrease response time.

“We’ve been pretty short-handed. Nobody’s in town anymore,” she said.

Beane, who’s been fire chief for at least three years, said her station for decades had relied on volunteer firefighters who worked in the area and could quickly come to the station on a call. But jobs over the years have moved away and one consequence was a longer wait for volunteers to report to the station.

“It helps to have someone there to have an automatic response instead of waiting for people coming from their other job,” Beane said.

Hupper has spent all eight years of his firefighting career in Anson. The 60-year-old previously worked at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay. He said the commute to the station is much shorter than the one to Jay.

“When everyone gets used to it, it’ll be a good thing to have people on when we need them,” he said.

He pointed out that every new program has pros and cons, but in this instance the benefits are too great to overlook.

“The town will be just fine,” Hupper said.

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