Long's retirement as Pawcatuck fire chief ends a family tradition

Stonington - After 44 years of service, Pawcatuck Fire Chief Tom Long retired Monday and turned over leadership of the department to Fire Marshal Kevin Burns, who was elected chief at the annual district meeting.

This will be the first time in 78 years that a member of the Long family has not been serving in the department. Long's father, Joseph, joined in 1936 and served for 50 years.

"I'm 65 years old. It's time to take it easy," said Long, who has been chief since the death of Steven Donahue in 2007.

"I've been thinking about (retirement) for a while. I've reached that age where it's time to do some things I've wanted to do."

Long, who joined the department in 1970 as a volunteer and became a paid firefighter in 1978, holds the distinction of being the only member to serve in all of the line officer positions: second lieutenant, first lieutenant, captain, third assistant chief, second assistant chief, first assistant chief and chief.

His father reached the level of first assistant chief.

Long said the one thing he will not miss about the job "is getting out of bed three times at night" to respond to a call.

"I've had the pleasure of dealing with a tremendous number of good people over the years," he added.

Long will remain as the fire alarm superintendent.

In addition to Burns, district voters chose Kevin Riley as first assistant chief, Rob Planchon as second assistant chief, and Byron Stillman as third assistant chief.

- Joe Wojtas

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