North Haven Firefighters Hot Over Staffing

North Haven's firefighters say the fatal blaze Saturday that claimed the life of a 45-year-old man should be a wake-up call for town officials.

On Monday, the firefighters' union put out a statement, saying there was a three-and-a-half minute delay in dispatching volunteer companies to the scene on North Hill Road.    The statement also says the seven career firefighters who fought the blaze had no backup.   It says the nearest volunteer department to respond was 11minutes away.

The victim has been identified as Michael Sheehan.  Another man in the house was able to flee to safety.  Fire officials say they're still working on determining the cause of the blaze.

Jeffrey Obier, the president of the firefighters' union, says there's no way to determine if Sheehan's life could have been saved by a quicker response.  But he says there have been numerous instances in the past in which there have been slow response times and a shortage of personnel.

Town officials were not available for comment.   Local residents say things like the fire department's budget, the number of full-time and volunteer members of the department, and the best use of personnel should be discussed immediately.

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