SHIRLEY — Dennis Levesque can finally start enjoying his retirement now that he has a replacement as fire chief.
According to Executive Assistant Michael Gibbons, the Board of Selectmen accepted the appointment of Deputy Chief Troy Cooley as the new fire chief for the town.
Cooley’s appointment is effective immediately as former Fire Chief Levesque was originally supposed to retire on Nov. 29.
Gibbons said that Levesque originally announced his plan to retire in October and, since the November date, has been working as the interim fire chief.
Speaking over the phone on Thursday, Cooley said he felt “amazing” after his appointment and is “very excited” for the new position.
He added that one goal he’d like to accomplish as the chief is getting the department to move forward with offering 24-hour coverage to the community. The Fire Department currently has full-time staff available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the department responding to incidents in the remaining hours of the day on an on-call basis. From Friday at 6 p.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m., there are usually two staffers on duty.
Born in Pennsylvania, Cooley has lived in Shirley for the past 31 years after moving to town in the sixth grade. Cooley said his family moved to Shirley because his father was originally from Littleton and had family nearby.
Cooley has served the department for 25 years. His first experience with the department was when he was only 14-years-old, serving as a fire explorer until he was 18. Fire explorers, a program typically run by local Boy Scout troops, has students participate in non-dangerous training exercises and learn how to use fire equipment in safer environment.
“I was in class with some kids who did it,” Cooley said. “They brought me to a meeting one time and I liked it.”
Gibbons said that a replacement for Cooley’s position as captain has yet to be discussed and Cooley’s contract as fire chief is being developed.