WATERTOWN — A former city firefighter who moved away might be brought back to work for the city Fire Department.

City Council members on Monday night will consider rehiring the unidentified former firefighter who moved south less than a year ago and is interested in being reinstated.

He will work on shifts that are normally taken by the fire department captain who was injured when a portion of a wall fell on him and another firefighter during the Feb. 19, 2018, fire that destroyed a vacant warehouse on Newell Street.

Capt. T.G. Kolb, who suffered severe injuries and is still recovering, has been on the duty roster since the fire but is on disability and cannot work.

Capt. Kolb plans to go on disability retirement but the paperwork and process could take as long as another year, so it made sense to bring back the former firefighter, Chief Dale C. Herman said.

“This will provide us an able bodies operational firefighter that is already trained and willing to work,” Chief Herman said.

It will be considered as an “overhire” that will cost $44,896 through the end of the current fiscal year that concludes June 30.

The returning firefighter could start in the next several days.

As required by an arbitrator’s decision, the department must maintain 15 firefighters per shift, City Manager Rick Finn said, noting that the department must maintain a staff of 71 to fulfill that requirement.

Under Civil Service law, the former firefighter could return to the department because it was less than one year since he left. He can join the department as long he passes his physical.

Capt. Kolb last had surgery back in January for an abdominal hernia,

“I’m doing OK,” he said. “It’s little things here and there that I’m dealing with,” he said.

He suffered extensive injuries that left him having to learn to walk again and underwent a series of surgeries to fix his crushed pelvis and to install pins and screws in his left hip. His right hip also was broken.

If You Go.

The Watertown City Council meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the third-floor council chambers at City Hall, 245 Washington St.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment


Watertown can afford just so much. These fire departments and police departments have almost bankrupt cities and villages. Get real look at the private sector!! Elected people think of taxpayers for a change.

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