Warwick fire chief retiring after nine years, remains as firefighter


  • Warwick Fire Chief Ron Gates, shown at the Fire Station in 2016, when the department retired its 1957 fire truck. Gates is retiring as fire chief, but will remain on as a firefighter. Staff File Photo/Matt Burkhartt

Staff Writer
Published: 6/19/2020 2:21:19 PM
Modified: 6/19/2020 2:21:08 PM

WARWICK — After nine years in the leadership role, Fire Chief Ron Gates is retiring from his position on June 30, but he has chosen to remain with the department as a firefighter.

Gates has been a member of the Warwick Fire Department for 18 years in all. He was a lieutenant and training officer for six years, and worked full-time for MedStar Ambulance prior to taking the chief’s position.

“My training started with every Massachusetts Firefighting Academy class I could get into, which was about every weekend,” Gates said.

He went on to complete the Fire 1 and Fire 2 courses with the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy before earning his EMT certification at Greenfield Community College. Gates said he has always been drawn to a career in public safety.

“What I enjoy most is helping people at their worst time, with hope of making things better for them,” Gates explained. “Living in a small town it’s like everyone is your neighbor, and Warwick has some great people.”

One memory from Gates’ career that is etched in his mind is from March 4, 2017, when a devastating house fire claimed the lives of five Warwick residents — a mother, Lucinda Seago, 42, and four of her children, Nicholas, 15, Martin, 12, Demetria, 9, and Peter, 7. Scott, Lucinda’s husband, and their daughter Vivian escaped.

“What stands out the most from my time as a firefighter is losing five neighbors in a horrific fire,” Gates recalled.

Despite the tragic moments, Gates said his lasting career has been fulfilling. He thanked his fellow Franklin County fire chiefs, Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts District 9 Director Joe Cuneo (who is also fire chief of the Wendell and New Salem fire departments), the entire Warwick Fire Department and his wife, Lori, for their support throughout the years.

While he is retiring from the chief’s position on June 30, Gates still has his full-time job with UG2, a facility services and maintenance company out of Boston, to keep him busy. Gates said he will remain with the department as a firefighter, and will help finish construction of the new Fire Station addition that began last fall.

“It was my main goal as chief, and I plan to finish it,” Gates said.

The Selectboard is in the process of interviewing candidates for the fire chief position, including Lt. Joe Larson and Firefighter Colin Killay, who were both recommended by Gates.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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