Worcester Deputy Fire Chief John Sullivan, 55, is leaving the department to take a job as chief of the Brookline Fire Department.
Sullivan has worked at the department for more than 30 years and announced his departure via an email Tuesday afternoon.
“It has been an honor for me to have served my hometown and the citizens of Worcester for 30 years and to have been part of this outstanding organization and these men and women,” he said by phone.
Sullivan, a Worcester native, started at the department in 1987 at the Tatnuck Fire Station. In 1994, he was promoted to lieutenant at the Grafton Street station, then, after three years, he moved back to headquarters. After the Cold Storage fire in 1999, he was promoted to captain of the training division, where he trained firefighters from all over the world in new safety measures that emerged as a result of the deadly fire.
“We had people say, you know, your fire changed the way we do business in Berlin, Germany,” he said.
He also trained the department’s first female firefighters before moving up district chief in the north end of the city in 2004. In 2012, he was made deputy chief of operations for the department.
Looking back over a long career at the department, he said nothing stands out more than the Cold Storage fire.
“It was a tragic, tragic event, but in the same breathe the incredible work and resiliency of this department and its members in the years that followed was truly an amazing thing to be part of,” said Sullivan. “I couldn’t be prouder to be a Worcester firefighter.”
The new opportunity in Brookline is one that does not come around very often, he said, and he is honored to take part in it.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” he said. “But leaving behind my hometown and the department where I grew up and worked alongside all the men and women here. It’s going to be difficult to up and walk away from that.”
Sullivan starts as the Brookline Fire Chief on Monday.