Firefighter graduates academy, alleges no training funds offered

Tisbury firefighter Julius Middleton, shown here at his June graduation, claims he wasn't provided reimbursement for the costs associated with going to through fire training. — courtesy Mass. Firefighting Acad

A Tisbury firefighter who graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighter Academy in June alleges he hasn’t been reimbursed for travel and other expenses incurred in pursuit of the training, which took place in Stow. Julius Middleton, who says he has almost 12 years in the Tisbury Fire Department, expressed pride in his completion of Firefighting I/II training. Middleton said he found ventilation aspects of the training particularly fascinating, and hazardous materials the most challenging. 

In an email to The Times, Middleton thanked his “family and classmates for supporting him, especially during times when he had to leave the Island on the last boat, sleeping in his vehicle overnight in order to attend classes the next morning,” 

Middleton said among the reasons he took the training was self-reliance. “My theory is I don’t want to rely on [anybody] to know what I’m supposed to know,” he said.

Tisbury Fire Chief Greg Leland said Middlton was advised that Firefighter I/II training is provided through on-Island classes, and that there were no funds budgeted to cover expenses associated with taking the training off-Island. Nonetheless, Chief Leland said the department was pleased with Middleton’s achievement.

“The Tisbury Fire Department is extremely proud of our most recent graduate from the fire academy,” Chief Leland wrote. “It was my honor to attend Firefighter Middleton’s graduation and present him with his certificate.”