The South Fire District will have a new Chief, effective Monday, June 24, 2013. The Chairman of the South Fire District Board of Commissioners, David P. Gallitto announced today that district resident Robert J. Ross, currently the State Fire Marshal, will be returning to the post he held for two years from 2005 to 2007. Ross will replace former Chief Edward Badamo who left the department more than a year ago after his contract was not renewed. Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Steven Krol has been filling in as Acting Chief since Badamo’s departure.
In making the announcement, Gallitto said “the five members of the Board of Fire Commissioners are extremely pleased to welcome ‘Rob’ Ross back to the role of Chief”. Ross was named to the Chief’s post by a unanimous vote at a Special Meeting of the Fire Commission earlier this week. According to Gallitto, Ross was the number one choice, by a wide margin, of the consultant and interview panel retained by the Commission to screen and interview applicants for the job. “In addition to his intimate knowledge of the South District Fire Department, Rob Ross brings to the Chief’s position a level of experience and leadership unmatched by any of the other applicants”, said Gallitto.
Ross will be sworn in during a ceremony on the morning of June 24th and will begin work immediately. Although Ross has been away from the Chief’s job for almost 6 years, Gallitto said the Commission expects him to “hit the deck running”. Immediately, Ross will join the Commission in contract negotiations with IAFF Local 3918, the union representing district firefighters.
Previously Ross was appointed Chief of the South District Fire Department in December 2005. He resigned in November 2007 after he was recruited by the State of CT to serve as Director of Fire, Emergency and Building Services of the Connecticut Department of Public Safety. That job later evolved into Executive Director of the Division of Fire Investigations and Statewide Emergency Telecommunications. Since November 2011Ross has held the title of State Fire Marshal, overseeing operation of the Office of State Fire Marshal. He holds numerous State and National fire service certifications including Fire Marshal/Fire Investigator, Arson Investigation, Certified Public Fire Educator and Fire Service Instructor.
Ross began his fire service career with the City's Fire Department where he served for just shy of 22 years. He rose through the ranks of Lieutenant and Deputy Chief, retiring in 2004 as Chief of the Department. Ross spent the year between his retirement from the City and his first appointment as Chief at South District, working for the University of Connecticut Homeland Security Education Center where he served as Connecticut State Coordinator for a full scale counter terrorism exercise involving local, state, federal and private sector agencies.
South Fire District is the largest in land area of our city's three fire districts, encompassing 21 square miles, or half of Middletown’s 42 square miles. The population of the district is just under 14,000 residents but the daytime population of the district is substantially higher due to the largest concentration of Medical Offices in Middlesex County being within the district along with Middlesex Community College and two of the city’s largest employers, Pratt and Whitney and Connecticut Valley Hospital.