Boston names department veteran Paul Burke new fire commissioner

Burke, who most recently served as a deputy chief, replaces the outgoing Jack Dempsey, who reached mandatory retirement age


Sean Philip Cotter
Boston Herald

BOSTON — Other burning questions may remain, but the city now has a new fire commissioner: department veteran Paul Burke.

Mayor Michelle Wu named Burke, who’s been with the department for 32 years, as the new head jake on Thursday.

Boston's new fire commissioner, Paul Burke, has been with the fire department for 32 years.
Boston's new fire commissioner, Paul Burke, has been with the fire department for 32 years. (Photo/City of Boston)

Burke, who’s most recently served as a deputy chief, replaces the outgoing Jack Dempsey, who hit the mandatory retirement age of 65 in June.

“Paul is a trusted leader in this department and has served in many roles leading our fire response,” Wu said in a statement. “I’m proud to welcome this Roslindale native into leadership as a partner to build a healthy environment for our firefighters and a diverse, connected workforce serving our communities in moments of need.”

Burke’s most recent posting as deputy chief of fleet and facilities has involved supervising all. vehicles and buildings. Previously, he managed the team in charge of technical rescues and other emergencies.

“It is a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to lead our Fire Department,” the new commissioner said in a statement. “I look forward to working with all of our firefighters to deliver this critical service to our city.”

This appointment comes in the midst of filling various major positions. The announcement went public just hours after Wu held a press conference with the new schools superintendent Mary Skipper. The high-profile hunt for a new top cop is expected to yield finalists in the near future.

Boston Fire has had some negative headlines in recent years largely around gender and racial diversity — specifically lack thereof, with some lawsuits around issues in the workplace.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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