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Kingsbury Takes Over as Westport Fire Chief

Andrew Kingsbury, Westport's new fire chief, won't likely forget his swearing-in ceremony Friday afternoon — and not just because it was an important moment in his 24-year career as a firefighter.

When asked to raise his right hand and repeat after First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, Kingsbury did, until he noticed one small error.

"I, Andrew W. Kingsbury," read Joseloff.

Kingsbury began to follow, but stopped and quickly corrected the mistake. "Andrew J. Kingsbury," he said, causing everyone in the room to laugh.

Retired Westport fire chiefs, fire officials from surrounding towns, members of the Westport Police Department, including Chief Al Fiore and Deputy Chief Dale Call, and town government representatives attended the ceremony.

The ceremony was a celebration of Kingsbury's appointment as well as a farewell party for his predecessor, Christopher Ackley, who served the Westport Fire Department for 32 years. Ackley was appointed fire chief in April 2005. He officially retired from the post last June but was rehired on a contract basis.

"This is a bittersweet day for me," Deputy Fire Chief Jon Gottfried told the crowd. “I’ve known [Ackley] for many years, since 1974. He’s been my mentor, my partner, my boss, my close friend. Some might even say we were brothers—we are.”

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