Sunderland fire captain named assistant chief

Firefighting is part of family history for Steve Benjamin

Recorder/Tom Relihan
Sunderland Fire Chief Robert T. Ahearn (left) with Steve Benjamin

Recorder/Tom Relihan Sunderland Fire Chief Robert T. Ahearn (left) with Steve Benjamin Purchase photo reprints »

SUNDERLAND — Sunderland firefighter Steve Benjamin has been sworn in as the Fire Department’s new assistant chief.

Benjamin, who has been with the department for nearly two decades, was raised to the position from the rank of captain.

“Over the years, I’ve learned a bit from everyone, from Bobby and his style and from everyone else,” Benjamin said as he accepted the position, referring to Chief Robert Ahearn. “With any luck, we’ll be able to keep going in the same direction that we have been. We’ve got some new people on the department and it’s really amazing. Five years ago, the department had an entirely different look.”

At the swearing-in ceremony Tuesday, Ahearn said, “I’m hoping in a few years he’ll be able to take over the reins from me and I’ll be on the outside looking in.”

Benjamin said firefighting has always been an interest for him and that his family has a long history in the field. His grandfather, John Benjamin, served as the Sunderland fire chief from 1943 to 1951 and remained active in the Firemen’s Association even after retiring. He said having that kind of exposure to the firefighter lifestyle from a young age drew him to it later in life.

He said he looks forward to continuing training new firefighters. He said about seven new firefighters have joined the department over the past two years.

“It’s a great honor, but change is inevitable, and I’m looking forward to doing as good a job as the deputies and chiefs before me have and keep the department going in a great direction. As the years have gone by, things have changed so much at the department. It’s going in a great direction, and it’s going to be a great future,” Benjamin said.

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