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Sanbornton fire chief announces retirement

February 09, 2011
SANBORNTON — Selectmen Wednesday evening were presented with a letter of retirement from Sanbornton Fire Chief John DeSilva who, in the letter, said that after 27 years as a firefighter it was "time to pass the reigns to another generation."

His retirement will take effect as of March 5.

DeSilva has been chief of the Sanbornton department for three years and also serves as the town's director of Emergency Management.

While he was unavailable for comment, select board Chairman David Nickerson said the news of his departure came as a surprise.

"We really hate to see John go. He brought this department a long way with technology, firefighting and ambulance skills. He will really be missed," Nickerson said.

Through his tenure as chief, DeSilva has handled emergencies like a severe ice storm that shut down sections of the town two years ago, large building fires, motor vehicle accidents both in town and on the interstate, and a serious fire/rescue situation where members of the Sanbornton and New Hampton fire departments were recognized for their bravery in saving the life of a seasonal resident trapped in his home off Hermit Lake.

The board will now have to get a new chief in place.

"It could take a couple months to hire a full time chief so we'll address the issue of finding an interim first," Nickerson said.

The department currently has two deputy chiefs, Scott Taylor and Steve Surowiec, who have assisted DeSilva in overseeing full time, call and volunteer staff as well as training exercises and equipment maintenance.

Nickerson said selectmen will meet in the near future to discuss whether they want to promote from within the department, search for a candidate through Local Government Center or conduct their own outside search to fill the position.

"We'll get through this but the board, the town administrator and others in Sanbornton really enjoyed working with John. He's knowledgeable and just a great guy who has done a lot for the town. We wish him all the best in the future," Nickerson said.

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