Fire District No. 1 names new Fire Chief

Nov 5, 2019

Dartmouth Fire District No. 1 will be under new leadership, as current Acting Deputy Chief Peter Andrade has been named to the post of Fire Chief. 

On November 5, the district’s Prudential Committee voted 3-0 to name Andrade as the district’s new Fire Chief after interviewing him for the job. One other district firefighter applied, but only Andrade met the eligibility requirements. 

Andrade has been with the department for 29 years, and has served in a variety of posts in his career. He is currently the department’s Acting Deputy Chief. 

Acting Chief Jake Bettencourt spoke highly of Andrade during the interview. 

“He’s been a trainer for all the folks here, he’s been a measure of calm, and quite frankly I can’t think of a better person you should choose for fire chief for this fire department in this time and place,” Bettencourt said. 

Andrade said he was excited to apply to the position, noting it is a rare occasion for the role to be open, and he felt ready to step up and take on the responsibility. 

“This window doesn’t open often for a call guy or even a member on a fire department,” Andrade said. “Some chiefs stay 20 years, and you could be on the department for your whole career and never have the opportunity.” 

During his interview, Andrade spoke of his training and experience, which includes several management and chief’s courses at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow, and training he’s brought to the firefighters of the district from the National Fire Academy in Maryland. 

“I’ve always strived to be on top of the latest,” Andrade said. 

Although Andrade does not have any major changes in mind, he does have some ideas he was asked about both short-term and long-term. Short-term, he hopes to develop a comprehensive training program and work towards digitizing old paper records. 

Long-term, Andrade said he plans to tackle the issue of the department’s aging Bridge Street headquarters building, creating a committee of residents and firefighters to shape the future of the station. He also plans to focus on recruitment into the department while maintaining the department’s call status. 

The Prudential Committee will make the appointment official next week by signing Andrade’s three-year contract. 

Contract negotiations were held during an executive session on November 6 following an interview. Andrade and the committee agreed to changes that need to be made before it can be signed. 

Andrade replaces former Fire Chief Brad Ellis. In April, the Prudential Committee declined to renew or extend Ellis's three-year contract. His last day on the job was in June. 

At the time, committee chair John Haran said he wanted "to take the department in a new direction.” The committee cited dissatisfaction with a report Ellis had authored which was riddled with grammatical errors.