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Mike Eheman becomes new Ansonia Fire Chief

January 5, 2019

ANSONIA-Mike Eheman made it into the city’s history books.

The veteran Webster Hose firefighter was sworn-in as chief of the city’s 125-member volunteer fire department for the second time in his 32-year career. Its the only time this has happened in the city’s 126 years.

“I’m extremely proud and appreciative that the city and its firefighters have put their confidence in me for a second time,” Eheman said during his swearing-in ceremony Friday night in the Ansonia High School auditorium. “If anyone had told me ten years ago I’d be doing this again I would have said you’re crazy.”

But Eheman, who is a second generation firefighter, said “there won’t be a third term 10 years from now.”

Instead he’ll leave that up to his 15-year-old son, Michael Patrick, to carry on the tradition begun by the chief’s father, Donald, now 86 and a 60-year veteran.

“My son’s in our junior program now,” Eheman said. “He’s impressed with the car.”

Eheman’s wife, Annie and son, Michael pinned the chief’s badge on him.

“The first time he served I was very young,” said his son, who is a sophomore at Emmett O’Brien Technical High School “Now that I’m in the junior corps I am able to respond to alarms and help out.”

Eheman succeeds Edward Adamowski as chief of the city’s five company volunteer department. He will serve as chief for the next two years.

“It’s such an honor to have him serve as chief again,” said Mayor David Cassetti, who administered the oath of office to Eheman and his four assistant chiefs. “He’s come back for a second term. That says a lot about his dedication to the department and the residents of this city.”

In addition to Eheman, Cassetti swore in Daniel A. Mudry as the first assistant chief; Alexander Horjatschun as second assistant chief; Jay Fainer as third assistant chief and Anthony DeLucia as the fourth assistant chief. If the rotation goes as planned Mudry will become the department’s chief in 2021.

“Mike has taught me a lot and guided me since I joined Fountain Hose in 1989,” said Mudry, who was pinned by his step-son, Cody Winters. “It has been a long ride but it’s definitely worth it.”

Fainer, a member of Charter Hose, is a fourth generation Ansonia firefighter. His term as chief is expected to happen in 2025.

“I didn’t have much choice,” he said in joining the volunteer department. “When I was old enough I was told it was time to get involved.”

And he expects his ten-year-old son Stephen to be the fifth generation of Fainers to serve in the department.

Eheman, who is employed in the city’s Public Works department, credited the work of Eileen Krugel, Eileen Ehman (this is correct spelling) and Richard Bshara, the city’s retiring finance director, with obtaining nearly $350,000 in grants city money to purchase 58 new air packs for the department.

“We should be set for at least 15 years,” Bshara said.

The new chief presented Bshara with a plaque acknowledging his 14 years as the fire commission’s secretary.

“Richie has been very inventive in finding ways to gt us what we need,” Eheman said.

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