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Littleton hires interim fire chief

June 27, 2020
LITTLETON — After 15 years serving the Littleton Fire Department, Chief Mercieri plans to retire on July 1. David Houghton of Moultonborough will step in to serve as the interim Fire Chief while the town seeks a candidate for a permanent position.

Houghton is retired, and brings more than 38 years of experience to the Littleton department. He was the Wayland, Mass. Fire Chief for five years before retiring and moving to Moultonborough last June.

Although Houghton officially assumes leadership duties in July, he has been working with Mercieri since the beginning of June.

He said, "I've been able to meet the crew, tour the town and learn more about the department and its equipment. It's great because that means I am not going in cold and it will make for a much smoother transition. The Chief has been very accommodating and working with me at least a half-day a week if not a full day."

Houghton said he was interested in the fire service since childhood. After graduating from high school, he took his first EMT tests at both the state and national levels. He began his career as a call firefighter in 1980.

Although he retired last year, the firefighter said it didn't last long. Last fall he began working on-call with the Moultonborough department while also offering consulting services through the Meredith-based Municipal Resources, Inc.

"There's a lot of growing pains going on in the fire service right now. We can help with that. I've done several projects with MRI in Vermont and Maine, looking at fire departments and helping them take the next step to move forward. It was MRI who connected me with Littleton," explained the first responder.

Houghton brings ample experience with fire-based EMS systems and said he believes he can help Littleton with its growing pains. During his five year tenure as Wayland's Fire Chief, the department went from a single ambulance to running two advanced life support ambulances.

"The biggest positive thing about fire-based EMS is that you're cross-training your first responders. No matter what call they respond to, whether it's a medical emergency or a fire, you are dealing with the same group of people all the time," noted Houghton.

"I am very impressed with the Littleton community as a whole and how quickly they turned around the EMS program and got it up and running. I have never seen it done that quickly and running as well as it is running right now. They did a tremendous job," added the firefighter.

When asked what excited him most about the new interim position Houghton said, "There is a tremendous group of people at the Littleton Fire Department. They have great skill sets. I want to help them grow and build a path to their future. There's a lot of things that I've been able to do that I would like to bring up to Littleton to help them move forward."

According to Littleton Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, the recruitment process for a new chief was delayed by the pandemic. He said that contracting Houghton to serve in a temporary role would "allow us to really make sure that we are doing our due diligence."

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