Greater Napanee elects interim fire chief amid leave of absence

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Greater Napanee elects interim fire chief amid leave of absence
With its Chief and Deputy Chief on abrupt leave, the Town of Greater Napanee acted quickly to replace the vacant seat with an interim chief – Apr 24, 2024

It was a move that certainly raised a few eyebrows in the Town of Greater Napanee when the council approved a by-law last week that would involve the hiring of a familiar face as acting fire chief in Napanee.

From now until mid-October, and possibly beyond, it will be Shawn Armstrong, not current Chief Bill Hammond or Deputy Chief James Feeney who will handle the job.

“We’ve got our fire leadership that are off on leave and we needed to have a professional firefighter or a leader to lead our fire department, so we’ve been able to acquire the services of Chief Armstrong from Kingston,” said Mayor Terry Richardson.

But why are the current Chief and Deputy Chief on leave?

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It’s a question that remains unanswered as both town and fire officials remain tight-lipped.

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“Both the Chief and the Deputy Chief are off on leave and I don’t have the ability to speak to that, so,” added Richardson.

Regardless, for at least the next six months, it will be Armstrong at the helm, and with him years of experience.

Armstrong was the fire chief in the City of Guelph for 21 years, with another six as Deputy Chief.

From there, he made his way east to Limestone City, where he sat as fire chief for seven years before retiring here in Kingston in 2022.

Since then, he has worked in a consulting role, but said he’s ready to do his part and get back in the big chair.

“The fire service is one big family and we’re happy to help each other when needed. I had just recently retired and this opportunity came up,” said Armstrong.

While it is on an interim basis, Armstrong said he does not plan to sit on his laurels.

“Well there’s several things that were underway when I got here and my goal is to finalize those things, one of which was a community risk assessment that must be completed by July 1 of 2024,” added Armstrong.

In the approved by-law, council also included a provision to extend Armstrong’s contract as fire chief if it becomes necessary.


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