Voters choose experienced commissioners for fire board

NASHUA – The newly elected members of the Board of Fire Commissioners haven’t just fallen off the ladder truck.

For the two-year seat, incumbent Maurice Trottier will return to the board for his 24th and 25th year.

He beat his challenger, David Duprat, a retired firefighter of 21 years, with a final tally of 8,131-3,049.

For the three available four-year seats, incumbent Richard Soucy topped the field in his successful bid for a second term. A firefighter in the city for 30 years, including eight as deputy chief, Soucy garnered 8,057 votes.

Also elected to the board were incumbent Ed Madigan, with 5,698 votes, and first-time candidate Paul Garant with 4,618.

Failing to gain a seat were Donald Berthiaume, who finished with 4,082 votes, and Bruce Laughton with 4,051.

Upgrading the department’s dive team from a recovery unit to a rescue unit, replacing the antiquated Arlington Street fire station, and tackling other space issues are three projects that the five-member board will oversee after the election. The board also includes Mark Piekarski.

The board also oversees the hiring, firing, promoting and training of 182 firefighters and other personnel who staff the department’s six fire stations and single fire-alarm building.

The race was dominated by candidates with years of experience as either firefighters or EMTs.

Madigan, for example, is a former building inspector in Hudson and Nashua, and has been a fire commissioner since 1995. Madigan is also a former Nashua firefighter, serving eight years with the department in the 1960s.

Garant has worked in quality control and management for a Massachusetts medical equipment company for more than 25 years, and is the former owner of a Rhode Island ambulance company. He had served as a call and auxiliary firefighter at various Massachusetts fire departments, as well as an EMT for the Boston Ambulance Squad.

“You’ve got to have a little background to know what it’s all about,” Soucy said from his home Tuesday night.

Soucy said commissioners have to understand not only the fire department’s budget, but also things such as the technology that firefighters use and the training they must receive.

“I’m happy with the mix we’ve got (on the board),” Soucy said. “It works out real well.”