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Posted on: June 30, 2022

Nolan and Shute to Lead Amesbury Fire Rescue

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After seven years of service Chief Kenneth Berkenbush retired at the end of June. Following his departure Deputy Chief Jim Nolan has been named Interim Fire Chief beginning June 29, 2022, and former Amesbury Fire Chief Bill Shute has been selected to help guide the department as the Chief Administrative Officer. 

Deputy Chief Nolan started with Amesbury Fire Rescue in 1995 as a part-time call-in Firefighter. Nolan became a full-time Firefighter/EMT in 1997, then held the role of Acting Lieutenant from 2012-2013. In June 2014 he was promoted to Lieutenant, and in July 2015 was promoted again to Acting Deputy Chief. In 2019 Nolan was promoted to his current role of Deputy Fire Chief / Fire Prevention Officer.  

Chief Bill Shute served the Amesbury Fire Department for 35 years prior to his retirement in 2008, including his final five years as chief. Shute was hired as a call firefighter in 1972 and promoted to a full-time position three years later. He achieved the rank of lieutenant in 1990 and was promoted to deputy chief five years after that continuing in that role until being named chief. Following his retirement from the helm in Amesbury he served as Interim Chief of the Newburyport Fire Department during their search for a new permanent fire chief in 2013. Almost ten years later, Shute will be capping off his career by returning to his roots and leading the department of his hometown during a time of transition.

 Mayor Kassandra Gove said, “I want to thank Interim Chief Nolan and Bill Shute for stepping up at this critical time. Chief Nolan has demonstrated an incredible commitment to our City and Bill has tremendous experience to offer. Together I am confident they will provide solid leadership for our staff, and I look forward to working with them.”

“My goal as Interim Chief is to continue to provide the high level of service excellence that the members of the Amesbury Fire Department provide to the citizens and visitors of Amesbury every day," said Deputy Chief Jim Nolan. Deputy Chief Nolan also said, "these are very difficult times in the post-COVID world that we live in, and together with Bill, the members of the Fire Department and I will continue to face these challenges head on. I will work with the Mayor and the City Council to keep the Fire Department in a forward motion during this transition. I would also like to thank Chief Berkenbush for his service to the Amesbury Fire Department.”  

In a written statement, Chief Administrative Officer Bill Shute thanked Mayor Gove for entrusting him to help maintain the professional standards of the Amesbury Fire Department. He is looking forward to working with Mayor Gove and Chief Nolan in keeping the Amesbury Fire Department moving forward during the process of appointing a new Fire Chief.

 Mayor Kassandra Gove has launched an initiative to hire the City’s next fire chief. The search will be led by a contracted outside agency responsible for recruiting and evaluating candidates from the New England region. Community and stakeholder input will be included in the process. 

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