NORWICH, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont town of Norwich has hired a local man as the community's new fire chief.

Town officials say Alexander Northern will take over for Steve Leinoff, who stepped down in March after 40 years of firefighting.

The Valley News reports Northern has worked in fire service since the late 1970s, starting as an on-call firefighter in Hanover. He later worked for the Hartford Fire Department. He has degrees in fire science and other subjects.

Town Manager Herb Durfee says Northern has "a rare skill set" given his educational background and practical experience. He's served as an instructor at the state's fire academy and he's a town resident.

Northern will be paid $61,000 a year.