Amid family commitments, Turners Falls fire chief resigning May 7

  • Turners Falls Fire Chief Brian McCarthy, pictured in November upon his promotion from deputy chief, is resigning, effective May 7. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 4/5/2022 4:30:35 PM
Modified: 4/5/2022 4:29:32 PM

TURNERS FALLS — The Fire Department is evaluating candidates for a new chief, according to current Chief Brian McCarthy, who is stepping down on May 7 to spend more time with family.

“It was definitely a very difficult decision, but it does come down to time for me,” McCarthy said. “I do have a young, busy family and balancing both at this time has been very difficult.”

McCarthy joined the Turners Falls Fire Department as a member of the call force on Nov. 13, 2005 and was promoted to the permanent force four years later. He worked his way up the ranks, eventually being promoted to captain in April 2014 and deputy chief in October 2019. He took on the role of chief on Nov. 15, 2021 following predecessor John Zellmann’s retirement.

“Brian was the top person in the whole process,” Zellmann said at the time, explaining that McCarthy was one of two internal candidates and four candidates overall being considered in the hiring process. “The department is in good hands with the new Chief McCarthy.”

McCarthy said he decided to resign because he saw his performance as both a fire chief and as a family man suffer due to the magnitude of commitment each role entails.

“I didn’t want to fail at both,” he said.

As the department looks to fill the vacancy in advance of his May 7 resignation, McCarthy voiced a willingness to be present during the transitional period to ensure the hiring process goes smoothly.

“I offered to assist in any way possible,” he said.

McCarthy clarified that he loves firefighting. While he has no intentions to rejoin firefighting at this time, he said he eventually intends to work again and isn’t eliminating the prospect of getting back into bunker gear. For the foreseeable future, though, he has neither specific professional nor personal plans.

“It’s certainly been an honor to be on the department and be able to serve the community,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to being more involved in my family’s life.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or


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