Northampton Fire Chief Davine tapped as state fire marshal

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Staff Writer

Published: 07-18-2023 4:40 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Northampton Fire Chief Jon Davine was 27 years old when he entered the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy as a new recruit, before joining Northampton Fire Rescue in 1998. Now 25 years later, Davine will soon be the highest-ranking firefighter in the state as Massachusetts’ next fire marshal.

As marshal, Davine, 52, will lead the state Department of Fire Services, which is responsible for coordination of fire service policy and operations in Massachusetts. He is the first firefighter from western Massachusetts to lead the department, and the first to hold the position that started out as a recruit.

In an interview with the Gazette, Davine said that other fire chiefs across the state encouraged him to apply for the position after outgoing State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced his intention to depart last spring, a decision he weighed carefully before ultimately opting to go for it.

“It was a lot of back of forth between me and my wife and my family, looking at the pros and cons,” he said. “I love Northampton and I would never leave this city to go to another fire department. But this is a unique opportunity to lead the fire service in the commonwealth.”

The authority for selecting the state fire marshal rests with an eight-member Fire Service Commission, consisting of fire chiefs across the state as well as Terrence Reidy, the state’s secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. The commission chose Davine, who lives in Easthampton, in mid-June to succeed Ostroskey, who has served in the role since 2016.

Davine beat out four other candidates for the position, including Maribel Fournier, the current deputy fire marshal for the state, according to the minutes from the commission’s June 6 meeting.

Davine starts the new job July 31.

Davine joined Northampton Fire Rescue as a firefighter after serving for four years with the U.S. Marine Corps. He rose through the ranks to captain, deputy chief, assistant chief, and finally chief in 2020. He currently serves as the emergency manager for the city of Northampton, as a hazmat technician on the District 4 Hazardous Materials Response Team, and as a member of the Department of Fire Services’ Joint Hazard Incident Response Team, where he works closely with the State Police Bomb Squad.

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“I have been proud to serve the people of Northampton alongside my fellow firefighters and all of my colleagues in city government for the past 25 years,” Davine said in a statement. “It’s hard to leave Northampton, but I am eager to put everything I’ve learned here to work for the Commonwealth as Fire Marshal.”

Tim Putnam, president of the firefighter’s union representing Northampton Fire Rescue, described Davine, a former union president, as a great leader with an open-door policy, where anyone is welcome to discuss issues relating to the profession with him.

“He made himself available to everyone in the department, whether you’d been there for one week or 30 years,” Putnam said. “It’s a big loss for Northampton, but a gain for Massachusetts.”

Among other certifications and credentials, Davine is an emergency medical technician, a fire prevention officer, and a fire inspector. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fire service management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s Chief Fire Officer Management Training Program.

The Department of Fire Services supports firefighter training, fire prevention, code enforcement, public education, licensing, fire investigation, hazardous material response, and emergency support for all of Massachusetts’ fire departments and the communities they protect. It does this through a variety of entities, including the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, Fire Safety Division, Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Division, and State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit.

Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra said she is proud that the commonwealth has recognized the exceptional talent that the city cultivates in its public safety experts.

“Chief Davine’s appointment as Fire Marshal is a testament to his unwavering commitment to public safety. Northampton will miss him,” she said in a statement.

With Davine’s departure scheduled for the end of the month, the city will look to fill his position with a new fire chief, to be appointed by the mayor. Alan Wolf, the mayor’s chief of staff, said further plans regarding Davine’s successor would be announced in the coming days.

If a new replacement is not appointed by July 31, assistant fire chief Andy Pelis will likely serve as interim fire chief, Davine said.

“It’s bittersweet, but the department is going to be in good hands,” he said. “The department is going to keep marching forward, and my successor is going to do an amazing job.”

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at amacdougall@gazettenet.com.

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