Firefighters Sue Massachusetts City Over Residency Requirement

In an unusual twist to a not-so-uncommon headline, two fire captains have joined eight other city residents in suing the City of Springfield for not enforcing its residency requirement. The suit was filed in Hampden County Superior Court naming the city, the fire department and the fire commissioner.

According to the complaint:

  • “There has been a long standing history in Springfield, particularly in the ranks of the Fire Department, of ignoring the city ordinance’s residency requirement.”
  • “The citizens and registered voters of Springfield are harmed by the lack of government that enforces the valid ordinances.”

The current ordinance requires members of the police and fire departments reside within 15 miles of the city. The plaintiffs claim that six of the city’s eight district chiefs fail to comply with the residency requirement.

The two fire captains listed as plaintiffs, Marc Savage and Curt M. Marcellin, live in the city. The issue has been a contentious one in the city for several years. The suit seeks a court order to require the city to enforce the law.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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