Thomas Rullo Named Acting Fire Chief in Mashpee
By: Geoff Spillane , September 20, 2013
This afternoon, Mashpee Fire Chief George W. Baker Jr. officially retires after three decades with the department, including 20 years as chief, but Town Manager Joyce M. Mason did not have to look far to fill the void left by the popular public safety official.
Effective immediately, Mashpee Deputy Fire Chief Thomas C. Rullo, 53, will assume the role of acting fire chief. Deputy Chief Rullo, an Attleboro native, joined the Mashpee Fire Department in 2012, having most recently served as battalion chief for the Orange County Fire and Rescue Division in Orlando, Florida. He also served as Walt Disney World’s fireworks specialist, where he supervised and provided safety training for fireworks technicians involved with displays at EPCOT and MGM Studios.
“Deputy Chief Rullo will have every authority that the former chief had. We won’t prolong a permanent appointment for too long, but this period as acting chief will give him the opportunity to lead the department. I have full confidence in his ability and there is no rush to look outside the department when we have a qualified deputy. We have only worked with him for 18 months, but I believe Tom is a good fit and will lead the department well,” Ms. Mason said.
Board of Selectmen Chairman John J. Cahalane applauded Ms. Mason’s appointment of Deputy Rullo to the role of acting chief. “I have been very impressed with what I’ve seen from Tom since he joined the Mashpee Fire Department. He reminds me of Chief Baker—a hands-on leader, always on the scene of a major incident, and first and foremost concerned with the safety of the town’s residents,” he said.
To honor Chief Baker's three decades of service to the town, an open house "Meet and Greet" will be held from 12:30 to 2 PM today at Mashpee Fire Department headquarters at 20 Frank E. Hicks Drive.
At his office on Wednesday afternoon, Deputy Rullo said that since receiving the job offer nearly two years ago, he only wanted to live in the town where he worked and become involved in the community. He quickly bought a home in Mashpee, where he resides with his wife, Amy, and 10-year-old daughter, Jessica. In just the past few weeks, the highly-visible deputy chief has been seen around town at, among other events, the local dog park fundraiser and at last week’s Mashpee versus Falmouth football game. “There was no small town community spirit where I came from,” he said.
When asked if he has any changes in mind as he takes the reins of the fire department, the answer is an unequivocal “no.” There is nothing wrong with the way this department runs, he said. He will, though, miss working with Chief Baker.
“He is one of the best chiefs I have ever worked with. He has always been up-front, and has provided great guidance. His commitment to the fire service always shines through, and that will be missed,” he said.
Read about George Baker's final full day of duty as Mashpee's fire chief here.