Fire captain retires to focus on hometown

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
March 27, 2008

NORTH BRANFORD — Fire Chief William Seward III is retiring from his full-time position as a captain in the New Haven Fire Department.

His last day on the job is today; his official retirement date is Wednesday.

Seward, who has worked in New Haven for 30 years, said the move will allow him to spend more time on his duties as North Branford’s fire chief, a part-time position he has held since 2005.

“Up to this point, it’s been pretty difficult,” Seward, 52, said. “A majority of the work that I do as chief is often split between weekday nights and weekends.”

As fire chief, Seward’s responsibilities include compliance with state and federal regulations, purchasing equipment and managing homeland security funds. He is also the town’s emergency management director.

North Branford has a volunteer fire department, but Seward earns about $13,000 a year for his part-time work as fire chief. He said he works about 20 hours a week, but he thinks that will increase after he retires from the New Haven Fire Department.

Seward grew up in New Haven and rose to captain and training director in the department. He moved about 15 years ago to North Branford, where he lives with his wife. They have three grown children and one grandson.

In addition to his work in North Branford, Seward said he is hoping to use retirement to spend more time with his family. He also is a referee for high school and preparatory school hockey games.

He said the New Haven Fire Department’s system for retirement benefits encouraged him to retire at this time. “We probably have the best labor agreement of all fire departments in the state of Connecticut, and the retirement benefits make it very enticing to retire at this point,” he said.

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