Clayton, Depauville fire departments merge

Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 4:17 PM EST
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TOWN OF CLAYTON, New York (WWNY) - Better response times, more volunteers, and consolidated training. They’re all benefits that two Jefferson County fire departments hope to see as they merge into one department.

“Clayton and Depauville fire are out of service and the Town of Clayton Fire Department is in service covering the town of Clayton.”

And just like that, with an announcement over emergency services dispatch, the 135-year-old Clayton Fire Department and 90-year-old Depauville Fire Department have become one.

It’s a brand new fire district to cover the 86 square miles that is the town of Clayton.

“We figure both resources together to create one solid department for fire protection coverage,” said Josh Reome, district chief, Town of Clayton Fire Department.

“Now we’ll have consolidated training, consolidated equipment and apparatus operators. Single leadership, or a very streamlined leadership structure,” said Justin Taylor, chairman, Town of Clayton Fire District.

Taylor says the move was necessary for the success of both stations as volunteer numbers have been trending downwards over the past several years.

For Depauville residents, Town of Clayton Fire Department Station Chief Kevin Warren says the merger will help improve both response times, as well as the number of firefighters showing up at the scene.

“You have more equipment that can respond, you know, adequately staffed. The homeowner is that much more protected. Response times will be as quick, if not quicker,” he said.

Warren says everyone on board is excited to be a part of the foundation that is the future of the Town of Clayton Fire Department.

“The captains, the lieutenants, even the firefighters that walk through the door, we’re all here at the beginning to watch it grow,” he said.

Both fire halls will remain in operation with a station chief in charge at each one. As the two historic departments come together, a new department balances tradition and transformation.