Butterfield Always Had ‘desire’ to Be Fire Chief
WESTMINSTER -- Kyle Butterfield joined the fire department as an on-call firefighter during his junior year at Oakmont Regional High School. Within the 20 years, he climbed the ranks to become the department’s newest chief.
“I’ve always had a desire to do this job and have always done classes to learn and be the best I could be,” Butterfield said Wednesday after a few weeks on the job.
The 37-year-old Westminster native said he has a desire for self improvement and wants to apply that outlook to his role leading the department.
His transition from captain to chief has been slow, Butterfield said, but he has had support from former chiefs Kevin Nivala and Brenton MacAloney.
The first order of business is to get the department’s staffing back up by filling two open positions, he said.
Interviews for a full-time firefighter position went on last week, Butterfield said, and he’s been working on a job description for the captain position that he plans to post next week.
He has also hired three on-call firefighters.
“It’s been busy. I’ve been getting my feet wet,” Butterfield said. “Realistically, I’m probably two years out before I am where I want to be.”
While serving with the department over the years, he has seen it change with the type of services and the number of calls coming in.
Butterfield wanted to become chief to make processes better and to make the department work better. He will be the person to oversee that change but added that he’s open to ideas from anyone from the department.
As chief, Butterfield has started to develop the department’s budget. He wanted to give himself more time because it is his first full one. As a captain he had experience budgeting for fire prevention and training.
Working with the Board of Selectmen, Town Administrator, and personnel has gone well so far, he said.
Butterfield has also maintained his relationship with building department through his fire prevention work. He often meets with the building commissioner and goes on inspections to make sure that buildings are safe.
As someone who studied fire science, Butterfield considers fire prevention an important part oft the fire department.
“It’s a gigantic part of the job that the public doesn’t usually see,” he said.
It may not be what people typically think about when they think of the fire department, Butterfield said, but making sure buildings are safe and preventing fires from happening is part of its role.
Being a firefighter is something he has always wanted to do.
Butterfield had an uncle who was in the fire service. The Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse Co. fire in 1999 that killed six firefighters made him want to become one.
He finished basic EMT training in 2002 and became a full-time firefighter in 2004. In 2011, Butterfield was appointed to lieutenant and to captain in 2014.
Previously, he worked as a per diem firefighter in Sterling for four years.
His two children attend Meethinghouse Elementary School and Overlook Middle School.
Butterfield said he likes Westminster because it’s a tight-knit community that offers good services, has good roads, and is run well.
He wants to stick around in town to serve as fire chief.
“There’s something special about Westminster,” Butterfield said.
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