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New chief hired for Belmont Fire Department

Belmont's new fire chief, David Parenti, is greeted by Firefighter Tom Murphey following the selectmen's announcement Monday evening that Parenti will be joining the department beginning July 6. Donna Rhodes. (click for larger version)
June 09, 2010
BELMONT — David Parenti will join the Belmont Fire Department as its new chief, leaving the Merrimack Fire Department after nearly 25 years of service.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Ronald Cormier announced the hiring at the Monday night meeting. He said the town had been "on the hunt" since the retirement announcement of former chief James Davis back in January.

The selectmen and the Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin had joined forces with the Local Government Center in Concord to find a new chief, and Cormier said that while several candidates were identified, they were able to narrow the selection down to Parenti.

"He's someone we think will be a great chief for the town," Cormier said.

He added that with Parenti's acceptance of the position selectmen were now looking forward to the next step in the progression of the Belmont Fire Department.

When Davis's retirement became official on April 16, Police Chief Vinnie Baiocchetti was appointed by selectmen to serve as acting fire chief while they interviewed candidates. Selectman Jon Pike said Monday that he appreciated all that Baiocchetti has done since April when he began running the administrative affairs of the fire department as well as his own police department.

"Thank you, chief, for stepping up with the double task and double duty as you did. It was greatly appreciated," Pike said.

Since Parenti's hire, Baiocchetti has also spent time getting to know the new chief and familiarizing him with the town. The two men attended a charrette for Belmont together last weekend, which gave Parenti the opportunity to meet residents and department heads and learn more about the town. Cormier said he had noticed a good relationship already developing between the two men and hoped the police and fire departments would continue to work together closely in the future.

"You're off on the right track," he told to them.

Parenti comes to Belmont from the Merrimack Fire Department, where he spent one year as a call fire fighter and has worked full-time for the department since 1986. Currently he holds the position of assistant fire chief in that town. Prior to his 23 years in Merrimack Parenti spent eight years as a volunteer fire fighter in upstate New York where he attended that state's fire academy and achieved the rank of lieutenant.

After moving to New Hampshire in the mid-1980's Parenti attended the New Hampshire Fire Academy and received an associate's degree in fire science. He also received a bachelor's degree from Granite State College in Fire Services Administration and attended the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md. As part of the application process, which began in February for him, he has undergone polygraph and psychological testing as well as many interviews before the final decision was made.

"I want to say that I am excited to come on board here and I'm looking forward to the challenge. I already know there's some great people in the Belmont Fire Department and I'm looking forward to getting to know them," Parenti said.

Following the announcement, the incoming chief had a chance to meet with a few of the firefighters who attended the meeting. Shaking hands with them outside the Corner Meeting House he promised he would be over later in the evening to meet more of the department now that his hiring was official.

Firefighter Tom Murphy told Parenti that members of the fire department had already heard many good things about him and were happy to welcome him to Belmont.

"The staff is all looking forward to meeting you," Murphy said.

Parenti lives in Concord with his wife and is the father of four children, most of whom now attend college. He will begin his official duties as fire chief on July 6. A more formal appointment ceremony will be scheduled in the near future to give residents and the town a chance to officially welcome him to Belmont.

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