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Rick McClellan 'Looking Forward to Getting Started' as New Wilmington Fire Chief

A veteran member of the Fire Department, McClellan will take over for retiring Chief Ed Bradbury on June 2.

Rick McClellan has been named the new Wilmington Fire Chief. (Patch File Photo)
Rick McClellan has been named the new Wilmington Fire Chief. (Patch File Photo)
There will be several new faces in leadership roles within the Wilmington Fire Department. But it is a familiar face that will soon be taking over the top role in the department.

It was announced earlier this week that now Deputy Chief Rick McClellan has been named Wilmington Fire Chief, set to replace retiring Chief Ed Bradbury on June 2.

McClellan has been a member of the Wilmington Fire Department for the last 32 years, holding a variety of job titles before his latest promotion.

"I'm very excited, and I'm looking forward to getting started," said McClellan. "We have a young department coming up with a lot of new hires who will be needed to fill vacancies. We have a lot of people retiring in command positions and fire prevention positions. So we need to make sure that is a smooth transition."

Among the retiring department members is Lt. Gary Robichaud, who retired in February. In addition, Lt. Dan Hurley and Lt. John Brown are also retiring in the upcoming months.

When McClellan takes over as Fire Chief on June 2, his Deputy Chief position will be filled by Gary Donovan.

McClellan said it's interesting to look back at all of the changes that have occurred since he joined the Wilmington Fire Department 32 years ago this October. 

He said fires are often less severe now than they used to be, because there are so many new methods of prevention that tame the flames until firefighters can arrive on scene.

One thing that he said is more prevalent now than ever is the trend of drug overdoses. McClellan used this as an example of why it is so important to adapt over time by using tools like nasal narcan to prevent deaths during these situations.

The veteran member of the Wilmington Fire Department said though he's been working in town for more than three decades, it feels like he just started.

"Wilmington is a great town to work in," said McClellan. "October will be 32 years for me, but it doesn't seem it. It's been a great job, and I really enjoy being here still. I don't look at it as a chore coming to work. I really enjoy it."

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