Here Comes the Chief


Parisi Chosen to Lead Fire Department

August 14, 2015

by S. Aaron Shamshoyan

Over a quarter century after joining the Salem firefighting force, Paul Parisi has been named the chief.

Nearly 100 family, friends, and fellow firefighters filled the bays of station one as Assistant Chief Paul Parisi was sworn in as the town’s new fire chief.

Parisi replaces nine-year Chief Kevin Breen who retired from the position in June.  Town Manager Keith Hickey called him an ideal candidate for the job.

“Paul has been very patient over the last two months roughly since Kevin retired, going through a process to determine the best way to bring a new fire chief on,” Hickey said.  “Candidly we’ve known all along that the best person for the position was sitting in the next office over from where Chief Breen resided.”

The promotion has been years in the making as Parisi moved through the ranks in Salem.

Starting as a firefighter for the department in 1989, Parisi advanced to fire inspector, lieutenant, deputy chief, and assistant fire chief where he served since 2006.

During his acceptance speech, Parisi credited his family, friends, mentors, and fellow firefighters for their support over the course of his career.

“I have seen many changes though the years in the community and the department, and most are for the better,” he said but added the job of the department has never changed.  “Our job has been and always will be about helping people.”

Parisi said his most important role as chief was to provide firefighters with tools to succeed at the job.

“I am so proud of the work you do each and every day,” he said to firefighters past and present.  “I know how hard it is.”

Parisi continued thanking his co-workers.  “I know that you make it look effortless, and that means that most people don’t know how hard it really is, but I do.”

A friend and mentor is what Parisi called former Chief Breen who he has worked with since beginning his career in town.

“He has shown me so much about being a good fire officer.  His knowledge, his integrity, and experience of so many facets of the job are invaluable,” Parisi said.

Parisi was pinned with the chief’s badge by his fiancé Darla Rheaume after being sworn in by Town Clerk Susan Wall.

“I am completely honored to be selected as your fire chief,” Parisi said.  “ I will fully commit myself to giving you the tools, the resources, and the means to continue serving the town of Salem fully and professionally.”