A Conversation with Fire Chief Goodale

IMG_4342[1]On Monday April, 29 I had the pleasure of speaking with Upton Fire Chief Goodale. I had reached out to Chief Goodale to obtain additional information regarding the Fire Department activities on Sunday April, 28 and we ended up chatting about several different topics.

On Sunday April 28, the Upton Fire Department was scheduled to participate in Upton Loyalty Day and also scheduled to conduct training activities; unfortunately the training activities were cut short due to several fires and medical emergencies in the area.

The Upton Fire Department responded to  3 EMS calls, deployed two fire trucks with firefighters to assist in battling a large brush fire in Hopkinton, responded to a brush fire on Mechanic Street in Upton, and deployed two fire trucks with firefighters to assist Milford – there were two brush fires near Route 85 and then another brush fire later near Dilla Street .  Sunday was a busy day for the Upton FD.

The fire on Mechanic Street in Upton resulted from an out of control permit fire. Chief Goodale said he is “looking forward to burning season ending May 1.” I asked what was the main reason for permit fires getting out of hand, “Residents need to be careful where they burn, most people are good about keeping the fire 75 feet away from their home but they also need to keep the fire a good distance away from any wooded area/vegetation. Upton residents are for the most part responsible with the permit fires.”  This time of year is dry and tends to be more active.

Chief Goodale is aware some residents were concerned Sunday with the training activities on Hartford Ave South and is trying to figure out a way to put the public at ease when the FD is running drills, but there is no easy answer. Many times training drills are spontaneous and not planned; “you don’t want to tell your staff to plan for a drill, you want them to react as if it were a real event.” There are many reasons which make notifying the public of FD training problematic.

Hartford Ave South near Glen Ave and the RR tracks is frequently used for training purposes. If there were to be a large structure fire in West Upton the water source at that location would be used to fill tanker trucks.

Chief Goodale advised in the event of an emergency the town would be notified.  Upton has an Emergency Management Plan which you can review here. The plan includes implementing the codeRED notification system when warranted.  If you are not registered for the codeRED system go here to register.

Stay tuned for similar posts about the Upton Fire Department.

Thanks Chief Goodale for sharing this important information with uptondaily readers.


  1. I don’t understand why permits are given on windy days when it is dry and we were refused on a day with lots of snow on the ground.

    1. Hi Ellen:

      I don’t think that most people realize that we get direction from DEP on a daily basis as to whether or not burning is allowed Statewide. There are several days during the season that we are sent an advisory from DEP that prohibits burning on a particular day. DEP’s decision to allow or not allow burning is based almost entirely upon air quality and is not based on fire danger. Many times the conditions that DEP doesn’t like for air quality are days such as when we have overcast or drizzly conditions. DEP doesn’t like snowy days either. These conditions contribute to poor air quality but are low fire danger days from the fire service perspective. DEP likes windy days because it disperses the smoke particles in the air. We of course do not like burning on windy days.

      We also receive fire weather advisories from our District 7 Fire Warden when the fire conditions are dangerous. We don’t allow burning on Red Flag days when it is most dangerous. We use the fire weather forecast daily to determine whether burning will be allowed or not. Some days due to wind predictions we restrict times when people can or can not burn. The fire prevention regulations that are issued by the State are effective in preventing fires from spreading. Residents in Town have a pretty good track record of being cautious and burning within the regulations.

      As a side note, open air burning ended today at 4:00PM and will not be allowed again until January 15th, 2014.

      I hope this answers your question.

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