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New fire chief, promoted officers sworn in
City depends on them, mayor tells firefighters
By Carol Kozma Journal Staff Writer
WARWICK — The city’s new fire chief, James G. McLaughlin, took the oath of office Wednesday night, in a packed City Council chamber.
“ I t ’ s u n b e l i e v a b l e , ” McLaughlin said before the ceremonies began, adding he was happy so many firefighters attended.
McLaughlin, 48, joined the department in 1988, was promoted to lieutenant in 1997, became captain in 2005 and then battalion chief in 2009. He became assistant chief in 2013.
Others sworn in Wednesday night included the department’s new assistant chief, David E. Morse, 53, who joined the department in 1985. He was promoted to lieutenant nine years later, then to captain in 2004 and battalion chief in 2011.
Richard J. Bellavance became a battalion chief. Keith R. Brown and Marcel
E. Fontenault Jr. were promoted to captain. Gerard A. Bogossian was made rescue captain. Scott C. Iamarone, Daniel J. DeRobbio, and Christopher W. Albro were made lieutenants. Promoted to rescue lieutenants were Bradford T. Ginaitt and Michael P. Kretchman.
William A. Alsfeld was promoted to lieutenant but was not at the ceremony.
Mayor Scott Avedisian told the firefighters, “Not only are people depending on you, but they are clinging on you,” as firefighters respond to scenes when people are “most vulnerable.”
Raising his hand with each firefighter in turn, Avedisian administered the oaths of office, and the men were pinned by their family.
R e t i r e e s w e r e a l s o recognized. They included Assistant Chief Bruce C. Cooley, Captain Matthew F. McCauley, Rescue Captain Bryan J. Owens, Lieutenant Carl Pecchia and Lieutenant Michael F. Shea.
R e t i r i n g F i r e C h i e f Edmund B. Armstrong received a citation from City Councilors and a plaque from the department.
“We honor you, for everything you’ve done for us. Well deserved; best of luck to you, thank you,” McLaughlin said, shaking hands with Armstrong.
McLaughlin also shared his vision for the department, including having good communication with union officials as well as city officials and making sure the department runs efficiently.
“I will give nothing less than 100 percent for this job,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin ended his speech by thanking his family and hugging his father.
On Twitter: @CarolKozma