New assistant chief rose through the ranks

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Walter Seaman

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Fire Department has a new assistant chief.

The department promoted Walter Seaman, a Terryville resident, to assistant chief on Dec. 16. He officially started in the role on Dec. 19.

Seaman started with the department in 2008. He held the ranks of assistant mechanic, lieutenant and captain before being promoted to assistant chief. He has won numerous awards during his career, including a special Fire Commission recognition for coordinating a live burn training at the former Vinny’s Restaurant and Pizzeria in the fall of 2018.

Seaman is also the training coordinator for Naugatuck’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and a member of Naugatuck’s Emergency Management Advisory Council.

The assistant chief position is the third highest ranking position in the department. The assistant chief is a day shift position and responsible for assisting with daily administrative tasks, pre-fire planning, coordinating hazmat training, ordering gear and responding to fires, Fire Chief Ellen Murray said. The assistant chief also acts as the safety officer for the department, she said.

The position helps keep the department running on a day-to-day basis, Murray said.

The position is part of the Naugatuck Fire Fighters Union. According to the union’s contract, the assistant chief’s salary is $96,721 this fiscal year and will increase to $98,662 in the 2020-21 fiscal year. Seaman’s new salary will be prorated this fiscal year.

Murray said Seaman’s excellent background makes him suited for the position.

“He will be a great asset to the team here,” Murray said.

Seaman could not be reached for comment.

Seaman replaced John DeBisschop as assistant chief. DeBisschop became assistant chief in 2017. He stepped down from the role by his own choice and returned to the position of assistant mechanic and firefighter, which he previously held, Murray said.