New London Fire Department to swear in new chief

New London Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Curcio, center, attempts to figure out the evening's schedule July 17, 2012, after firefighters, who were told they were being laid off, were told to respond to work after a temporary agreement between the city and the IAFF Local 1522. The city has tapped Curcio to be its next fire chief.  (Tim martin/The Day)
New London Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Curcio, center, attempts to figure out the evening's schedule July 17, 2012, after firefighters, who were told they were being laid off, were told to respond to work after a temporary agreement between the city and the IAFF Local 1522. The city has tapped Curcio to be its next fire chief. (Tim martin/The Day)

New London — The city has tapped homegrown firefighter Thomas Curcio to serve as the next chief of the New London Fire Department.

Curcio, 56, who currently serves as battalion chief, is expected to take over for Chief Henry Kydd on Sept. 12 and lead the department and its 64 firefighters. Kydd, with 40 years of service to the city, was appointed chief in 2013 and announced his retirement earlier this year.

Mayor Michael Passero, a retired firefighter himself who worked with Curcio, said Curcio’s wealth of experience, expertise and leadership abilities made him the logical pick for chief. He called Curcio “eminently qualified” for the position.

“He’s recognized within the department as a leader ... as an experienced, skilled incident commander,” Passero said.

The City Council earlier this month approved a four-year contract with Curcio that includes a $124,500 annual base salary.

“I’m glad that they’re staying in house,” Kydd said. “It gives the guys something to stretch for, so to speak. This is what people strive for: advancement.”

Kydd called Curcio a leader who “gets the job done” and said he was aiding Curcio in the transition and will continue to be available to help after retirement.

“Tom is well-deserving of this,” Kydd said. “He will be received very well as the chief.”

Curcio got serious about joining the fire service while a senior at New London High School and volunteered as a firefighter when the city still had volunteers. All firefighters are now paid city employees.

He was sworn in as a career firefighter in 1984 but said his fascination with the fire department dates back to his youth.

Curcio remembers dropping whatever he was doing when he heard the fire engine siren outside his home on Vauxhall Street. He would run to the end of the driveway to get a glimpse of the engine as it screamed by on Colman Street. He still lives with his family in the city. His contract dicates he must live in the city.

“I’m just honored to be selected as the chief here in New London and looking forward to taking over to continue the effort to provide more resources for the department,” he said.

Terms of his contract dictate that Curcio cannot engage in outside employment except for things like teaching or consulting work that is not in conflict with his duties. Curcio said he already had left his part-time job at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital. He had worked part time at the hospital for 27 years, most recently as a cardiology technician.

His job performance is to be reviewed by the mayor each year, according to the terms of his contract. The contract runs from Sept. 12, 2018, to Sept. 11, 2022. A formal swearing-in ceremony is being planned for next month.

G.smith@theday.com

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