By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — The town’s top fire official is stepping down.
Fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie announced he would retire March 1, after serving in the department’s top job for five years.
“It’s time for me to spend some quality time with my family,” he said, “and to enjoy what life brings.”
The Town Council received word of MacCaffrie’s retirement last week and read an announcement at its meeting Monday.
MacCaffrie, 62, came to Londonderry in 2008 after serving as fire chief in Bedford, Mass.
He took the reins following the departure of longtime chief Michael Carrier, who went on to become chief in Hampstead.
MacCaffrie began his 47-year career as a call firefighter in Norton, Mass., at the age of 16. After working on call for 10 years and then 25 years full time in Norton, MacCaffrie served as Bedford’s fire chief for seven years.
He also served as a paramedic for 25 years before coming to Londonderry and is a certified instructor. He is also an FAA certified pilot and SCUBA diver.
MacCaffrie said he enjoyed working in Londonderry and would assist the town as officials seek new leadership.
“I will help with a smooth transition,” he said.
Battalion Chief Darren O’Brien will serve as the department’s interim chief. He said Tuesday he would be interested in the permanent position.
O’Brien, 47, was born and raised in Londonderry. He has served the fire department since he was 19, working his way through up the ranks.
He called MacCaffrie a mentor.
“He is a great guy, very fair,” O’Brien said. “I look up to him and wish him all the best of luck.”
Police Chief and acting Town Manager William Hart said it would be hard to see MacCaffrie go, but wished him well.
“It will be good to focus on the rewards of (his lengthy) years of duty,” Hart said. “The rewards will be well deserved.”
Hart said he knew his friend would miss the job and it would miss him.
But, he said, O’Brien would be a good fit to take the helm.
“This is until we determine what our next course of action will be,” Hart said.
O’Brien said he looked forward to his new role.
“Congratulations to the chief on his retirement,” he said. “I look forward to the challenge.”