James R. Peplau takes over as chief of the Middletown Fire Department after a swearing in ceremony this morning. He brings more than 25 years of experience as a consensus and team builder from the Waterbury Fire Department in Connecticut.
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NEW FIRE CHIEF SWORN IN
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (JULY 26, 2021) – The Middletown Fire Department welcomed new Chief James R. Peplau this morning.
To loud applause of Shift 1 firefighters and town staff on hand in the Wyatt Road fire station, Peplau said how proud and committed he was to the department, the community and its residents.
Peplau takes over for Interim Fire Chief Kevin P. Partridge, who’s helping the chief transition into his new role over the next week. Peplau is slated to attend the Town Council meeting Monday, Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. from Town Hall for a formal introduction to the community.
“From everything I’ve seen and heard, Middletown Fire is in a really good place,” Peplau said. “It has the staff and the equipment and most importantly, the support from the community and I’m looking to help the department achieve its full potential.”
Peplau comes to Middletown Fire from the Waterbury Fire Department in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he’s worked as a battalion chief. He brings 25 plus years of experience to Middletown Fire and is known for his team and consensus building work with the 235 member Waterbury department.
In his remarks to the gathered crowd, Peplau thanked everyone for their support and belief, saying being named as chief of Middletown Fire was like a dream come true.
He pledged to work closely with firefighters to help them help keep Middletown safe and secure. Peplau also spoke about helping firefighters achieve their personal goals within the department as well.
In coming weeks, Peplau said he planned on moving to Middletown to be near the Wyatt Road station and enjoy what the community has to offer. After making his remarks, Peplau introduced himself personally to each of the firefighters, shook hands and thanked them for being in attendance.
“It’s obvious to me what kind of program and pride there is here,” Peplau said. “It’s important to work in a town where there’s a strong sense of community.”
Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown echoed Peplau’s sentiments, saying there was much to be proud of with Middletown Fire. He also thanked Partridge and Middletown Fire Battalion Chief Robert McCall for their work, helping guide the department while a permanent chief was found.
“Chief Partridge and Chief McCall did an outstanding job helping elevate the department,” Brown said. “They were instrumental in bringing Middletown Fire to where it is today and I know they deserve our thanks.”
As for Peplau, Brown said he had no doubt Middletown Fire was in good hands.
“When you talk to the chief, he has a calming way about him,” Brown said. “He’s someone that I know I’m really looking forward to working and will be a welcome addition to our Town and outstanding team.”