AUGUSTA — For the first time in nearly a half century, the city’s Fire Department has a deputy chief.

Dave Groder was promoted to deputy chief Jan. 1, just four days short of his 25th anniversary with the department. Groder, a firefighter and paramedic, previously had served as battalion chief.

Groder becomes the department’s second-in-command behind Fire Chief Roger Audette. The department has not had a deputy chief in at least 45 years.

“I’m excited being the first one,” Groder said.

He said his new duties include operating as the safety officer on scene when crews respond to incidents. Groder also will assist Audette with the day-to-day administration and management of the department.

Audette announced Groder’s promotion last week, along with other recent promotions:

* Firefighter/paramedic/Registered Nurse Scott Dunbar, was promoted on June 25 to battalion chief. Dunbar, who has been with the department for 24 years, fills the vacancy left by Ed Charles’ retirement in June.

* Firefighter/paramedic John Bennett was promoted to battalion chief on Dec. 19. Bennett, who has been with the department for 19 years, fills the opening created by Groder’s promotion.

* Firefighter/paramedic Jason Farris was promoted to lieutenant on Dec. 26. Farris, who has been with the department for nearly 12 years, fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Lt. Tom Feeney.

The department also announced the hiring of three new firefighters/paramedics over the past six months — Shawn Stevens, Richard Beaudoin and Joseph Galego.

Groder said he is anxious to work with the new officers and Audette.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642
[email protected]