East Providence Fire Department promotes new chief, seven officers in City Hall ceremony

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EAST PROVIDENCE — In a ceremony held Thursday evening, Oct. 17, in the City Hall Chamber, Oscar Elmasian was formally promoted to the position of East Providence Fire Department chief while seven other of his colleagues each also moved up in rank.

“This is the pinnacle of my career. And while I spoke about the goals I would like to attain as the chief, one of them is to prepare several candidates for this position. Some people believe that when they get into a position like this, it’s their’s forever. It’s not. We’re just one person there to do the job with the help of many others,” Chief Elmasian said, who becomes the 15th person to hold the position. Then Captain Elmasian was named interim chief following the retirement of Joseph Klucznik in December of 2012.

Those future candidates for chief could come from the group of officers also promoted Thursday including Battalion Chief Ronald Caulder; Captains Michael Carey and Kenneth Botelho, as well as Lieutenants Jay Dent, Robert Pray Jr., Justin Dutra and Carl LaPietra.

“They all come from different talents and disciplines. Collaboratively, they help bring everything together,” Chief Elmasian said of the promoted officers. “Their hard work and dedication to this department has elevated them into these positions.”

Thursday’s affair, with EPFD Firefighter Carl Godfrin serving as Master of Ceremony, began with a flare as the Rhode Island Professional Firefighters Pipe and Drum Corp along with the Providence Police Pipes and Drum Corp paraded into the Chamber in full sound. The EPFD Honor Guard presented the Colors.

Lieutenant Dutra’s young daughter, Maddison, led the pledge of allegiance. Fr. John Unsworth, the EPFD chaplain and whose father John Sr. once was the E.P. fire chief, gave the invocation and later the closing prayer.

Among the dignitaries in the attendance were Major Christopher Parella, the second ranking member of the East Providence Police Department, serving in the stead of Chief Joseph Tavares who did not attend, and Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements Jr. as well as other fire chiefs from the area. Several EPFD firefighters and EPPD officers also took in the ceremony.

Three city officials spoke during the evening, beginning with City Manager Peter Graczykowski, who noted “all of these firefighters being promoted here tonight have worked hard and are dedicated to their jobs.”

City Council President and ceremonial mayor James Briden, who swore in each of the officers, said in his remarks “Oscar Elmasian is extraordinarily well qualified for the position of chief” and that he has long been a “dedicated member of our community.”

Mr. Briden continued, “He truly cares about this city as a whole and that is apparent to anyone who has known him over the years.”

The last of the officials to speak, Councilman and ceremonial assistant mayor Thomas Rose, likewise recognized the new chief while thanking the seven other officers promoted Thursday for their “years of dedication to the City of East Providence.”

In his acceptance speech, besides thanking family members and his fellow workers, Chief Elmasian staked out his plans for the future of the department, calling it already one of the best in the state, if not the nation, though one that can always improve.

“This department is phenomenal, but there are things we can touch up on. And we’re going to do that,” Chief Elmasian said.

— Photos by Mike Rego

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