Great Barrington — During the Selectboard’s meeting on Monday, June 26, Town Manager Mark Pruhenski announced that Three Rivers Fire Department Chief Scott Turner has been named as the new chief for the town’s Fire Department. Turner is taking over for previous chief Charles Burger, who resigned at the end of March after 10 years in the position.
According to his Linkedin page, Turner started off his career as a firefighter for the Three Rivers Fire Department from January 1994 to December 2012, where he served as a lieutenant for one year from 2004 to 2005. At the same time, he served at Bondsville Fire Department in Duckville in January 1995, where he served as a firefighter, lieutenant, and eventually captain until June 2005. He also served the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Bureau of Forest Fire Control from April 2000 to December 2012 as a wildland firefighter. Since January 2013, he has served as the chief of the Three Rivers Fire Department.
“My father, George, was a volunteer firefighter and I grew up hanging around the fire station,” Turner told The Berkshire Edge. “He started off at the Bondsville Fire Department, then he moved on to the Three Rivers Fire Department.” Turner said that his father, who died in 1999, was a volunteer firefighter for over 25 years.
“To me, one of the biggest aspects about firefighting is that there is a family atmosphere when it comes to fire departments,” Turner said. “Everybody in the department looks out for each other. Members of the department always spend a lot of time together, and we all get to know everyone’s families and children. On the other hand, with the emergency side, it’s a great feeling when you can help people in emergency situations. There always has to be somebody that can provide care, whether it’s EMS or fire services. It’s just a good feeling to know that you can help people out.”
Turner said that, while he will miss Three Rivers, he is looking forward to working in Great Barrington. “My wife, Bonnie, and I have been visiting the area for about 12 years now, and her father has a timeshare in Lee,” Turner said. “We have spent a lot of time there and we have grown to love the area.”
When asked, Turner said that he is impressed with the Great Barrington Fire Department’s professionalism. “I have been around the department for a few days and I have been around [Acting Chief James Mead] to learn about their operations,” Turner said. “At this point, I don’t see anything that needs changing [with the department]. But I think the more time I spend [in town], those things will probably come about. To go in with the idea of a drastic change, I don’t think it’d be very wise at this point. It’s going to be a learning experience for me [and the department]. I think together we will be able to determine if any changes are necessary.”
Turner added, “[A]s far as I’m concerned, for me, firefighting is not just another job.” He explained, “I take public safety and public education very seriously, and I feel that a town’s fire department should be part of a community as much as possible. I hope that they don’t only see us on a bad day, but on a good day as well. That’s my belief in fire service in general because people should be aware that we’re not just there for people on bad days. I’m really looking forward to coming to Great Barrington.”