TRUMBULL, Conn. — Andrew Kingsbury, who is retiring from the top fire job in Westport, will be the new acting fire chief for the Nichols Fire Department in Trumbull.
The announcement was made at this week's holiday party for the Nichols Fire Department.
Kingsbury, a Trumbull resident, will take over at Nichols on Jan. 1, although he will not retire in Westport until March 1.
During his tenure in Westport, Kingsbury helped to save the Saugatuck Congregational Church from a massive fire.
“The town of Westport and its residents have been very fortunate to be the beneficiaries of Andy’s expertise and dedication throughout the years," First Westport Selectman Jim Marpe said in a statement.
Kingsbury will be replaced in Westport by Assistant Fire Chief Robert Yost.
“I am proud of the accomplishment we have been able to achieve as a department," Kingsbury said. "Whether safely navigating the storms during 2011-13, or saving the Saugatuck Congregational Church from that devastating fire, I was fortunate to command such a dedicated and talented group of firefighters and fire officers. I know that the department will be in good hands under Robert Yost.”
Marpe praised Kingsbury's leadership.
"As fire chief, Andy has assured that our firefighters are appropriately recruited, trained and equipped to serve in their roles of preventing and fighting fires and providing rescue services in 21st-century Westport," Marpe said. "His actions in commanding over 100 firefighters in the November 2011 Saugatuck Church fire prevented far greater damage from occurring and kept the firefighters from significant injury."
Kingsbury joined the fire service in 1980 in his hometown of Trumbull. He was appointed to the Westport Fire Department in 1986 and promoted to lieutenant in 2003. In 2007, he was promoted to assistant chief. In 2011, he was appointed Chief of Department and Westport’s Emergency Management Director.
During his tenure as chief, he guided Westport through five Presidentially Declared Disasters, including Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, and as Emergency Management Director assisted residents and business owners with the rebuilding process.
"As the Emergency Services Director, Andy has been on the front lines in protecting all our residents," Marpe said. "On Andy’s watch, Westport has weathered some particularly devastating storms and tense situations with superb preparation and minimal impact because he has been supremely focused and proficient."