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Strahan to be fire chief

Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan.
Recorder/David Rainville

Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan. Recorder/David Rainville Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — The town will once again have a permanent fire chief, most likely before the end of September.

Mayor William Martin has confirmed the appointment of former Deputy Chief Robert Strahan and said Edward Jarvis, who also applied for the job, will remain the town’s provisional deputy fire chief.

Martin said the town and Strahan will have to work out the details of the job and sign a contract before he begins as permanent chief.

Strahan served as deputy fire chief when former Greenfield Fire Chief Michael Winn served in the position until a little more than a year ago when he took a job as fire chief of several Cape Cod towns. Jarvis was serving as captain at that time and was promoted temporarily when Strahan moved up.

The town’s Public Safety Commission recommended Strahan on Aug. 12, after interviewing him and Jarvis each for an hour the night before during a public meeting.

Strahan and Jarvis were the only two in the local department to apply for the permanent position. They both participated in the town’s Civil Service-approved assessment.

Strahan started his career as an emergency medical technician when he was 17. He said he soon learned he would have to also become a firefighter if he wanted to get a job and said he fell in love with the profession immediately.

He worked for Gill Fire Department for five years, while also working for the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Strahan took the Civil Service exam in 1997 and became a captain on the Greenfield force in 2003, while he also served as fire prevention officer.

In 2007, he was promoted to deputy chief and in May 2013 to provisional chief.

Strahan’s experience and education earned him accreditation from the state Fire Service in May.

He said during his interview with the commission that his goal is to make the department better than when he arrived.

“It has been an honor to serve so far,” he said on Friday. “I’m honored to lead such a great department and look forward to the future with Greenfield Fire Department and everyone involved in public safety in the Town of Greenfield.”

Strahan has described himself as “a go-getter with good communication and problem-solving skills.”

“I plan to set the tone for the department and steer the ship on the right course,” he told the commission earlier in August.

The commission said it had a difficult time choosing between Strahan and Jarvis, but said in the end, it wanted to keep the department running as it has been.

“You don’t tinker with something that’s not broken,” said commissioner Frederick Clark.

Jarvis started on the Greenfield call force in 1987 and was hired as a permanent, full-time firefighter in 1991. He was later promoted to shift captain and then became fire prevention captain.

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