TUPPER LAKE - A new slate of Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department officers was elected Thursday night, with former First Assistant Chief Mark Picerno being elected as the new chief.
Picerno ran for the position unopposed.
Guy Hurteau beat Mark Arsenault for the position of first assistant chief, and Royce Cole ran unopposed for second assistant chief.
Also running unopposed were Tim Brown for treasurer and Nick Rolley for secretary.
Outgoing Chief Ken Gravlin will serve as president.
Picerno said he wanted to run for chief because he's always been interested in fighting fires, ever since he was growing up in New Jersey.
"I was a fire truck chaser, you know - where they went, I went," Picerno said. "I think it's a prestigious job, and just feel I have the training and the background for it. I've got a feeling I can do some good for the department."
Picerno said his priority as chief will be to push for a new fire station. He said the department's equipment is too big to fit into the current station, with equipment stored downtown and in the town garage and trucks needing to be altered to fit in the uptown station's bays.
"Our trucks have inches when they're coming in and out," Picerno said. "Something's definitely got to be done."
The village board is aware of the need for a new station but has yet to take any action to purchase or build one, he said, and the current station is becoming a safety issue with parts of it deteriorating.
"We know money's an issue; money's always an issue," Picerno said. "But we need to stop putting it off."
Picerno said the department is proud of the number of members it has, and the volume is a result of targeted recruiting and the prestige of the department.
"It's great to have 20 to 30 people show up at an alarm activation," Picerno said. "You don't see that at other departments."
Since the state Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities had a fatal fire at a group home in Wells last April, Picerno said Tupper Lake's Sunmount OMRDD facility has notified the department of every alarm, which has increased the call volume by about 30 or 40 percent to 207 in the last year. He said he knows that takes a toll on volunteers, but he hopes that won't make them stop showing up for calls.
Other positions elected Thursday night include the following:
Tina Trudeau was elected captain of Company No. 1, and Joseph Arsenault beat Marc Powers for lieutenant of the company.
In Company No. 2, Craig Sanford was elected captain and David Maroun beat Traci Sanford for the position of lieutenant.
Ian McLear was elected captain of Company No. 3, and Michelle Fortier beat Nick Rolley for lieutenant. Patti McLear will serve as treasurer of the company, and Annie Godin was elected company secretary. Company No. 3 has its own treasurer and secretary because that was the original company of the fire department when it was formed in 1903, Picerno said.
According to a press release, 46 members were present for the elections, as were retired members of Company No. 5 and members of the Piercefield Volunteer Fire Department.