- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—SALEM, N.H. — Ever since he started out as a 19-year-old firefighter, Paul Parisi has dedicated his life to the town’s Fire Department.

Over the last 26 years, Parisi has risen through the ranks. He’s become a fire inspector, lieutenant, deputy chief, assistant chief and acting chief while quietly gaining the respect and admiration of his colleagues.

Parisi, 45, was officially named fire chief Monday night by Town Manager Keith Hickey. The town manager announced the appointment during a selectmen’s meeting at Town Hall.

Parisi replaces Kevin Breen, who retired this spring after 28 years with the department, including nine as chief. Breen was recently named the chief of the Marlborough, Mass., Fire Department.

Parisi attended the meeting Monday to speak on issues affecting the Fire Department, including the potential sale of the old North Salem fire station.

Earlier in the day, Parisi politely declined to comment on his selection until after Hickey made his announcement.

Two weeks ago, Hickey said he and two selectmen were considering potential internal candidates to replace Breen, but added that he could not disclose any names.

Hickey said he wanted to complete the review before seeking any possible outside candidates.

He named Parisi acting chief in May, receiving strong support from Breen.

“He has consistently been a champion for advancing our department,” Breen said. “If provided the opportunity to serve as the organization’s next chief executive fire officer, he will absolutely elevate our collective professionalism and ensure organizational constancy and continuity.”

Breen was elated when contacted Monday, saying he recently spoke with Parisi. He praised the selection.

“Paul Parisi is an excellent choice and I couldn’t be happier,” Breen said.

He lauded Parisi for his loyalty, abilities and professionalism. Parisi has had a tremendous impact on all operations of the department over the years, Breen said.

“Paul Parisi always knew he wanted to be a firefighter,” Breen said.

He was also a true friend who was there to raise others’ spirits during the tough times faced by those who must respond to tragedies on a regular basis, Breen said.

Parisi’s appointment received praise from town officials, including Selectman Everett McBride Jr.

“I’m happy about it,” McBride said. “It’s a great move.”

Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten agreed.

“We enjoy a great relationship with SFD and expect that it will continue under Chief Parisi’s leadership,” Patten said. “He has earned this position through his hard work and commitment to public safety in Salem. We wish him luck and look forward to working with him.”

Hickey has said he wanted to have a new fire chief in place as the town begins preparing its proposed budget for 2016.

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(c)2015 The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.)

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Topics: t000037113,t000040408,t000198107

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