Officers climb ranks, firefighters begin careers in borough

Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren ‘Pete’ Hess, left, swears in Ellen Murray as Naugatuck’s fire chief during a ceremony Oct. 14 in the St. Francis Church hall. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren ‘Pete’ Hess, left, swears in Ellen Murray as Naugatuck’s fire chief during a ceremony Oct. 14 in the St. Francis Church hall. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Fire Department marked the ascension of officers and the addition of new firefighters last week during a promotional and swearing-in ceremony.

Firefighters Jonathan Raiola, Phillip Becker, Deven Yudelson, Nicholas Treycheff, and William Drew were sworn in during the Oct. 14 ceremony in the St. Francis Church hall. Todd Gallino and Jason Seaman were promoted to lieutenant, and Albert Beltrami was promoted to captain.

The evening was highlighted with the promotion of Ellen Murray to fire chief.

“Her 34 years of fire service are more than our 19 recent firefighter hires have combined,” Capt. John DeBisschop said.

Murray was hired in April 2011 as deputy fire chief. She was named interim fire chief in September 2015 after former Fire Chief Ken Hanks retired. The borough officially hired her as chief in March.

During the ceremony Murray congratulated all the new firefighters and officers.

“As a chief the promotional and swearing-in ceremony is one of the best events you can attend. Whether it is one of our new officers or a firefighter just beginning their career, I know they have all worked very hard to get to where they are,” Murray said.

While Murray was pleased to be swearing in new officers, she pointed out that the positions were vacant due to loss of manpower in the department.

“More than half of our firefighters have about two years or less. We have promoted new officers into just about every position. While we’re excited for the new firefighters joining the ranks, through retirements we have lost hundreds of years of knowledge and experience. I have confidence in our officers and firefighters that we will come through even stronger,” Murray said.

Murray encouraged all the new firefighters to become involved in the department and the community.

“I’m going to fight for the budget, vehicles, and manpower. But those things won’t make us a better department. That comes from you, your attitude and your commitment,” Murray said.