Emotions Erupt After New Hampshire Fire Chief Quits

Firefighters are demanding answers about why their leader has been asked to step aside.


The issue over who will be the next fire chief in New Durham led to emotional exchanges at a meeting on Tuesday night.

Members of the town's volunteer fire department met with the board of selectmen.

Firefighters demanded answers over why Chief John Nicastro had been asked to resign and who would be replacing him.

"I'm not leaving 'cause I want to leave, it's just better for the town," Nicastro said.

"It was confusion over goals of selectmen and goals of the fire department. They should be unified and we both weren't heading in the same direction," said selectman Peter Rhoades.

Added to the frustration over the resignation, firefighters were upset that they haven't been informed of who the next chief might be.

The board of selectmen had said it wanted to choose somebody from outside the department.

"The fire chief has to be someone you can trust, someone you can go into a burning building with, someone who's going to make sure you're going to get home to your family," said firefighter Sean Edmund.

Many firefighters at the meeting said that if they don't trust the new chief, it may stop them from volunteering for the department.

The selectmen said they hope to replace an interim replacement for the chief by Monday.

This is just the latest stress concerning the fire department in New Durham.

At a meeting in September, a yelling match erupted between Selectman Rhoades and members of a fire station task force over decisions in the process to decide whether to build a new fire station or rehab the old one.

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