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Oneida welcomes a new fire chief

Dennis James Fields, Jr. has taken over for former chief Kevin Salerno.

Posted: May 30, 2018 5:28 PM
Updated: May 30, 2018 5:35 PM

ONEIDA - After 28 years, the City of Oneida has a new fire chief.

Dennis James Fields, Jr. has taken over for former chief Kevin Salerno, who retired after 28 years serving as the chief for Oneida.

A swearing in ceremony took place Wednesday afternoon at the Oneida Fire Department. Robert Cowles was appointed to assistant chief, Jeffrey White was promoted to deputy chief, and Scott Burbage was promoted to lieutenant. The department even has a new chaplain: James Chapell.

Former chief Kevin Salerno spoke about what it takes to make it as a chief.

"The fire aspect of this job is… I don’t want to call it 'simple', but you should know that as part of your career for 20 something years. It’s the politics side, and learning how to manage and do the administrative stuff that, you know, you don’t go to school for that stuff. You just kind of got to learn it on the fly."

Chief Fields says he's up for the job and knows what to expect.

"There’s a lot of regulations. The state puts a lot of pressure on us for training. It’s going to be a difficult job just do to the service the way it is today."

Friends, family, and members of the community came out to partake in the ceremony. Chief Fields is only the fourteenth chief to serve in the department's 110-year history.

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