Ashfield selects first full-time fire chief

  • Ashfield Fire Chief Kyle Walker

For the Gazette
Published: 7/15/2021 1:24:49 PM

ASHFIELD — Fire Chief Kyle Walker made Ashfield history last week when he was unanimously appointed as the town’s first full-time fire chief.

Walker is replacing former Fire Chief Del Haskins, who retired on June 30 after 47 years of service. Walker, who is in his 22nd year with the Ashfield Fire Department, can trace his desire to serve his town back to the age of 15 when he started as an junior firefighter.

“This is huge,” Walker said of his appointment. “This is kind of what I’ve been working toward my whole life, being able to bring emergency services full-time to my town.”

The idea to create a full-time fire chief position came from a March report done by West Barnstable Fire Chief Joseph Maruca. The report recommended a full-time chief is necessary to best serve Ashfield, and townspeople ultimately voted in favor of the proposal at the Annual Town Meeting in June.

Walker’s full-time, benefited position is a significant change from the stipended part-time role of his predecessors. Instead of about $9,400 each year, former Town Administrator Jennifer Morse mentioned in June, Walker will receive $65,000.

An Ashfield native, Walker said he has just about done it all. After becoming a senior firefighter and EMT at 18, he was promoted to lieutenant in 2014. Walker has also served as the department’s EMS director for more than 16 years.

His service, however, hasn’t stopped at the Fire Department. In 2011, Walker became an auxiliary police officer for Ashfield, and in 2012, a public safety dispatcher for the town of Montague.

“Everything before this has prepared me,” Walker said of his history serving so many facets of his community. “It feels incredible. I’m humbled by the support.

“(There were) a lot of stepping stones to get here, but this is where I want to be and this is what I want to do for a long time,” he continued.

With this new role, Walker is keeping his eyes on the future and is hopeful for the positive impact he can continue to make on his community.

“There are so many things that I’m hoping to bring to this department,” Walker said, naming one of them as community involvement. “I know that it takes a special kind of person to throw on some gear and run into a burning building, but if we can get people to help in other ways … Support roles would bolster what we’re able to accomplish on our own.”

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy