By Courtney Widli
Born and raised in Rutland, it was following in his family’s footsteps that led Interim Rutland City Fire Chief William Lovett into the fire-fighting profession. When asked to fulfill the role of interim chief by Rutland City Major David Allaire, replacing former Chief Michael Jones after an early termination of contract, his response was without hesitation.
“As a child, I grew up watching my father put on his equipment and head off to work each morning,” reminisced Lovett, adding that his father served in the department for nearly 40 years, as well as his brother, who still works part-time for the fire station. “My whole family has been a part of this department for a long time.”
Lovett officially joined the local fire department in 1981 as a substitute fire fighter, filling in when needed during vacations and sick days. He took his duties full-time in 1987 after successfully completing training at a paramedic’s school in Albany, NY.
In addition to his work in Rutland, Lovett served as an instructor for the state fire academy, and was promoted within the Rutland City Fire Department to lieutenant in 2004, before becoming deputy chief in 2015.
Now, more than thirty-five years into his service, Lovett still has the same passion for his profession as he did on his first shift.
“It’s an exciting place to work. We are a brotherhood of firefighters and the skills these guys have here are exceptional,” he said of his dedicated coworkers. “It’s like a big family.”
On an ordinary shift, Lovett can be found doing a variety of tasks from administrative duties, such as coordinating the staff of 27 full-time members and an additional 10 part-timers, managing budgetary items, and prioritizing current tasks and projects, to long-term strategic planning for the department.
“Our doors are always open,” he said. “This is the tax payer’s fire station, we just manage it.”
When off the clock, Lovett can be found spending the bulk of his time with his young family, including attending swimming and tennis lessons with his eight-year-old. His other passions include his curiosity for local history, as well as serving as an active member of the Rutland Railroad Historical Society.
When asked about future plans within the department, Lovett mentioned that with the proper work and home-life balance he would be open to fulfilling the chief position full-time, if the opportunity arose. While his next career move is currently undecided, one thing that is certain is Lovett’s desire to continue to grow his professional fire career and serve the Rutland region.
“There is so much that Rutland has to offer, and we have a strong sense of community here,” he said. “It’s not about the money, it’s how you feel about the work you do and what you bring to your community.”