First Selectman Mike Tetreau announced that on August 31, 2015 the Fairfield Fire Commission unanimously voted to appoint Denis McCarthy as Fairfield’s new Fire Chief, effective October 1, 2015. Mr. McCarthy, a 38-year Fairfield resident, has served as Norwalk’s Fire Chief for the past ten years.
Chief McCarthy has served in the Connecticut Fire Service for over 37 years. He credits his achievements to working collaboratively within the Fire Department, with partners from other municipal departments, in the private sector, as well as with citizen and community groups.
Chief McCarthy values an honest, transparent and credible decision-making process. He recognizes the importance of public safety and the role of the Fire Department and Emergency Management on the health and stability of a community. Chief McCarthy said, “A Fire Chief encourages the contributions of every member of his team and appreciates the impact each member can have to better inform the decisions, programs and projects of the Fire Department.” As the incoming Fire Chief of Fairfield, “I look forward to bringing my expertise and community leadership to my hometown.”
In his role as Norwalk’s Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director, Chief McCarthy updated the professional standards of the staff, created a fire rescue marine unit, and led the construction of a new state of the art Fire Headquarters and Emergency Operations Center. This LEED Gold facility was built on time and on budget.
In addition, Chief McCarthy spearheaded the development of a school safety plan for the public school system and one for Norwalk City Hall. In his role as Emergency Management Director, Chief McCarthy ran a number of disaster exercises for the community and the region. In 2006, Chief McCarthy was recognized as the Connecticut Emergency Manager of the Year. Under his leadership, the Norwalk Emergency Management team has grown into a collaborative team that responded to Sandy, Irene and other storms. Prior to his service in Norwalk, Chief McCarthy served 27 years in the Westport Fire Department completing his service there as Fire Chief.
Beyond local service, Chief McCarthy was selected to serve on the State’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Advisory Board. He is a past president of the Connecticut Career Fire Chief’s Association, the Coastal Fire Chief’s Association and has served as Chair of the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Regional Emergency Planning Team. Chief McCarthy is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Human Services Council in Norwalk as First Vice President.
Mr. McCarthy will replace Richard Felner who has served as the Town’s Fire Chief since 1998. Chief Felner joined the Fairfield Fire Department in 1959 and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1964 and then Captain in 1970. Chief Felner was elected the first president of the Fairfield Fire Fighters Association Local 1426, served as County Vice President of the State Firemen’s Association and served on the executive board of the Uniform Fire Fighters of Connecticut. Chief Felner was born and raised in Fairfield and served in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Sergeant.
First Selectman Tetreau said, “I am thrilled the Fire Commission has chosen Denis McCarthy to serve as Fairfield’s next Fire Chief. As a current and former Fire Chief of two nearby communities and a long-time Fairfield resident, Chief McCarthy brings a wealth of experience to this important position and is a progressive and energetic public servant who anticipates the changing demands in our public safety sector. I also want to thank our current Fire Chief, Dick Felner, for his decades of outstanding service to our Fire Department and to our Town. Chief Felner has served with distinction and his passion for his work is always evident. The Chief’s dedication to providing excellence in both service and safety to the public has made our town a safer and better place.”
The photo shows Assistant Chief Chris Tracy, President of the Fairfield Fire Fighters Association Local 1426, incoming Fairfield Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, First Selectman Mike Tetreau and current Fairfield Fire Chief Richard Felner.