Commissioners name interim fire chief

Former Naugatuck Fire Chief Ken Hanks, right, applauds after Deputy Chief Ellen Murray, left, was named interim fire chief by the Board of Fire Commissioners Aug. 27. -LUKE MARSHALL

Former Naugatuck Fire Chief Ken Hanks, right, applauds after Deputy Chief Ellen Murray, left, was named interim fire chief by the Board of Fire Commissioners Aug. 27. -LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Fire Commissioners has moved the second in charge at the fire department up as it searches for a permanent fire chief.

The board appointed Deputy Chief Ellen Murray interim chief at a special meeting Aug. 27.

“It’s very bittersweet. I’m honored to have been asked. But, the reason I was asked is we have a great, exceptional chief leaving. So that makes it difficult,” said Murray, who was hired as deputy chief in 2011.

Murray’s ascension was due to the retirement of former fire Chief Ken Hanks. Hanks, a lifelong Naugatuck resident, started his career as a volunteer in the Naugatuck Volunteer Fire Department in 1982, eventually working his way up to chief. His final day was Aug. 28.

Hanks said Murray being named interim chief is “great for the department.”

“She’s aware of all the issues that are going on. She’s ready to take the positon,” Hanks said.
Murray stepped right into the role of interim chief.

She is doing interviews to hire between two and six new firefighters. The interviewees are fire academy graduates, so they will get on the line a lot quicker than previous hires who had to be sent to school, Murray said.

The board formed a personnel search committee, which is made up of all the members of the board, to search for a new chief and a new deputy chief.

Murray said she will put her name in for consideration for the permanent chief position.

Murray joined the Naugatuck Fire Department in April 2011 after retiring from the Stratford Fire Department, where she had spent 28 years. Murray retired from Stratford in 2010, but applied to the Naugatuck position after a Stratford firefighter told her about the opening.

Murray’s contract with the borough expired on June 30. Murray and the borough are currently in contract negotiations.

The Republican-American contributed to this article.