By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — The town officially has a new fire chief and it’s someone that knows the department well.
Darren O’Brien was named chief at the Town Council meeting Aug. 1.
The 47-year-old has served as the department’s acting chief since March, following the retirement of Chief Kevin MacAffrie.
Fire department personnel, residents and O’Brien’s family filled the Moose Hill Council Chambers to honor O’Brien, giving the firefighter a standing ovation after his promotion was made official.
Acting Town Manager and police Chief William Hart pinned O’Brien’s badge on his jacket following the announcement.
Human resources manager Donna Pratt said the town did not advertise the fire chief job after MacAffrie left.
O’Brien’s former position of battalion chief job is now open.
O’Brien was born and raised in Londonderry. He has served the fire department since he was 19, working his way through up the ranks.
Hart said a modest O’Brien wanted his appointment to be low key.
“Darren wanted to do this alone, but I said no,” Hart said. “This is a celebration of merit and achievement.”
Hart said OBrien should be commended for coming in to take the department’s reins at a challenging time.
“He was willing to face those challenges and take a leadership role,” Hart said. “He has led the department, restoring its morale. This is Londonderry right here.”
Hart said he was looking forward to working with O’Brien.
“And now I get to say ‘Chief,’” he said.