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New Meriden Fire Chief Kenneth Morgan stands in front of Engine 3 Monday Aug. 5, 2013. Morgan started work in Meriden last week. | (Jeff Gebeau/Record-Journal)

New Meriden Fire Chief sworn in

MERIDEN — City officials turned out to witness the swearing-in of Meriden’s new fire chief Kenneth Morgan at the Augusta Curtis Cultural Center Friday afternoon.

Mayor Michael Rohde, Deputy Mayor Matthew Dominello, City Manager Lawrence Kendzior, Majority Leader Brian Daniels, Minority Leader Dan Brunet, Deputy Majority Leader Cathy Battista, Councilor Miguel Castro were among those who attended along with other city department heads, said Deputy Fire Chief David Bowen.

Bowen set the stage by paying tribute to the firefighting profession, calling it “one of the world’s most honored but most dangerous vocations.”

“Only 100 people have the honor and privilege to wear the Meriden Fire Department uniform,” he added.

Bowen recognized outgoing fire chief James Trainor and asked those assembled to join him in a moment of silence for three of the city’s former fire chiefs who died since the department’s last transfer of authority.

City Clerk Irene Masse administered the oath of service. The new chief pledged to uphold the national and state constitutions and “observe in all respects” Meriden’s ordinances and charter.

Morgan, 54, is the former deputy chief of operation for the Clark County, Nev., Fire Department and had been with the department for 23 years. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, covers 8,000 square miles and has a population of two million. In his previous position Morgan supervised 650 employees.

Rohde said the change of leadership was an important occasion.

He thanked Trainor for a decade of service and officially welcomed Morgan.

“We look forward to working with you in our community,” Rhode said.

Dominello said Morgan was taking charge of “the greatest fire department in the state.”

Trainor said it was a privilege and honor to lead the department. He asked firefighters, officials, and residents to treat Morgan as well as they had treated him.

Morgan said he was overwhelmed by the opportunity.

“I think I hit a goldmine,” he said. “I’m excited to take the helm of this department and excited to move it into the future.”

The Rev. Edward Hyland, chaplain for the Connecticut Fire Marshals Association, delivered a benediction, after which Morgan accepted the transfer of command from Trainor in a ceremonial proceeding in which department members saluted Morgan after donning their caps, which they had removed at the start of the event. Trainor and Morgan then exchanged salutes.

Trainor concluded the solemn convocation with a note of levity. “It’s all yours,” he told Morgan. “I’m going home,” he said.



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