LaGrange gets new fire chief

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Commissioners of the LaGrange Fire District have named Tim O’Connor as the new chief of the fire department that covers 44 square miles in Dutchess County.

O’Connor, a 20-year veteran of the Fairview Fire District, dating back to 2000, left his previous department as a lieutenant to become the leader of LaGrange as current chief, Barry Ward, retires after more than 48 years of service in LaGrange.

Ward joined LaGrange in 1972 and has risen through the ranks before retiring as chief.

“I’m going to move on to better things and turn the reigns over to a new chief who will continue with the growth of the department in a progressive manner, making the department more effective.

Chief O’Connor will be leading a department of approximately 23 career firefighters, supplemented by volunteers that handle both fire and EMS calls.  The department operates from three fire stations, running three ambulances, three fire engines, one heavy rescue rig, two water tankers, and two brush trucks.  The district answers approximately 2,300 calls annually.

Retiring Chief Barry Ward on left and Chief Tim O’Connor.

“This is a new opportunity for me and the LaGrange Fire Department,” said O’Connor.  “I never thought this opportunity would ever come my way.”

District Commissioner Richard Sassi said that Chief Ward will be staying on for an undetermined period as O’Connor transitions to his new department and command.  “We are happy to welcome Chief O’Connor as our new chief after serving for 20 years as a Firefighter and Lieutenant with the Fairview Fire District,” said Sassi. “We look forward to working with the new chief and exploring some of his ideas on how to move the Fire District forward. Chief O’Connor will be orientating with Chief Barry Ward, after which Chief Ward will retire.”

Sassi expressed his thanks to Ward for almost 50 years of service, with the last 14 as chief.