Stamford names new chief fire marshal
STAMFORD — A new era began Friday for two positions Mayor David Martin believes are among the most underappreciated in the city.
Walter “Bud” Seely was promoted to chief fire marshal and Chad Armstrong was appointed assistant fire marshal.
During a ceremony at the Government Center, Martin said fire marshals often do not receive the credit they deserve because most residents see them as code enforcers.
“So you get that friction and pushback every day and the rewards are, you save lives. But you never get to meet the person whose life you save because they never even know you did it,” Martin said. “And so let me be the one to say on the behalf of the people in the city of Stamford, most of whom have not a clue of what you are doing, I want to thank you for your service.”
Fire Chief Trevor Roach said most people don’t realize the importance of the fire marshal’s office, which helps to save lives by enforcing codes and educating the public on fire safety.
Seely, 63, is a 43-year member of the Stamford Fire Department after serving as a volunteer at the Turn of River Fire Department for three years. He said he looked forward to taking over for former Chief Fire Marshal Charles Spaulding, who retired this month.
“It is a great challenge. I love my job,” Seely said after his wife, Lorraine, pinned the new badge to his jacket. “I’ve never had a day that I did not want to come to work. This is a job where you get paid to help people all the time. It has been a dream come true my whole career.”
A fire marshal for the past 10 years, Seely is a fourth generation public servant. Seely’s father, Walter C. Seely, was a member of the Stamford Police Department for nearly 30 years before retiring as a lieutenant. Seely is named after his grandfather, Walter F. Seely, who was a Stamford firefighter. Seely said his great grandfather served as a Stamford police officer.
“I’m a lucky guy,” Seely said.
Armstrong, 43, has been a member of the fire department for 18 years and has served as fire marshal for the past seven years. Armstrong said he wants to help Seely make their office one of the best and most respected in the state.
“I think it is a good next step for me and we are going to progress in our division and bring it to the next level,” Armstrong said after his father, John, pinned on his badge.
The office has one chief, two assistants, including Robert Sollitto, and nine fire marshal positions.
Director of Public Safety Ted Jankowski said the promotions were a big achievement for Seely and Armstrong.
“You are being promoted into a position of greater responsibly and greater impact at a time when the construction and fire department is changing,” he said.