SOUTHINGTON — New Fire Chief Richard Butler said department members and the community have been very welcoming so far.
“This is a very, very good organization,” Butler said. “I can say that without a doubt this is one of the better departments in Connecticut.”
After his first six weeks, Butler is still in the learning process.
“I have boards filled with notes and notepads full of notes and it’s now just about getting organized and developing what my five year plan is going to be,” Butler said.
Michael Bunko, chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, said Butler has shown he is a skilled communicator.
“This is a highly educated individual who has served in a variety of capacities,” he said.
One of Butler’s immediate goals is to hire an assistant fire chief. An appointment is expected at the Sept. 20 fire board meeting.
Bunko said Butler has a lot of other plans for the department.
“He has an open door policy and if anyone wants to sit and spend a few minutes he’s willing to do that,” Bunko said
Butler began his 32 year career in Annapolis, Maryland in 1974 as a volunteer firefighter. Other than five years in the Air Force, Butler spent most of his career in the Annapolis Fire Department. He worked in almost all positions within the department; paramedic, engine operator, training instructor and deputy chief.
Butler was retired for 18 months before he decided to go back to work.
“I wasn’t meant to retire because I was bored,” he said. “I missed the life. I missed the fire service.”
Butler said Connecticut and Maryland are “two different worlds” but he is working on ways to develop a connection with the local community.
“I’m here to serve them. I work for every citizen in the town of Southington,” Butler said. “That’s my job.”