Past Chiefs

During its infancy, the Chepachet Fire Company needed a chief with determination. Walter Keach was that man. In the forty years he was chief, he saw the Company go from a hand-drawn chemical wagon to an up-to-date, modern firefighting company.

Chief Keach was a man of strong convictions. He had ideas on how a fire company should look and how it should be run, and he was never lax in putting his ideas in motion.

Chief Keach saw the Company through two World Wars and the frustration of not being able to get equipment to run a fire company. There was double-jacketed hose that you couldn't bend, but that the government liked; trucks from the government surplus; and miscellaneous equipment like nozzles that were for pumping from a pond, but not from a tank truck. Despite all these setbacks, the Chief managed to bring the Chepachet Fire Company up to a modern firefighting unit.

When he retired in 1953, it was with a heavy heart that the members of the Company and the people of Chepachet said God speed and thank you for his many years of service.

Chief Walter F. Keach, Sr.

Walter F. Keach, Sr.
Chief
1912-1952

 

 


 

Chief Leon O. Chase

Leon O. Chase
Chief
1952-1956

Chief Chase was with the Company as Chief just a short time -- hardly enough time to get comfortable in his duties. But he was a worker.

Chief Chase initiated the purchase of the four-wheel drive truck, as well as the building of the addition to the Fire Station. He was taken ill in 1956 and passed away soon afterward.

 


 

Leslie Davis was with us as Chief nine years, and a very busy nine years it was. After thirtyone years he finally got the street lights installed, extended the District lines to what they are today, and helped celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Company. He instituted the purchase of a new truck, and also obtained our first S.C.B.A.'s or "Scotts", although everyone was reluctant to use them.

Chief Davis was a man of humor and a man of seriousness. He would play a joke on a man one minute and reprimand him for doing something wrong the next.

"Let", as he was called, was a man who could see the future. He dreamed of making the Chepachet Fire Company the best in the state. Unfortunately, he never saw that dream come true in his term. He passed away in 1966 after only nine years of leading the company.

Chief Leslie E. Davis

Leslie E. Davis
Chief
1956-1966

 


 

Chief Henry H. Lewin

Henry H. Lewin
Chief
1966-1991

Chief Lewin started his career as Chief with a bang. He began the Rescue Squad in 1966 (and has regretted it ever since). He approved the formation of the men's and women's muster teams, the ladies' auxiliary, the rewriting of the Company's bylaws, the purchase of a 2500 gallon tanker, new rescue truck and pumper, the expansion of the fire station, and many other smaller projects too numerous to list. He saw the first woman firefighter voted into the Company in 1981, and there have been many more since.

Chief Lewin oversaw all Company activities with diligence and with the energy of a man many years younger. He preferred not to use a Scott, but never hesitated to go into a smoky building. He believed his officers should do their jobs or step down. After a fire or rescue incident, he would either say "Good job" or "Why wasn't this or that done when it should have been?"

In May of 1982, a testimonial was held in Chief Lewin's honor. He said at that time that it was not a retirement party -- he had too much more to do.

 


 

Chief Chase, who is fondly known as "Jiggs," joined the Chepachet Fire Department in 1946. He served 53 years, until his retirement in 1999. In his role as Chief of the Chepachet Fire Company for the last 8 years of his career, he was following in his father's footsteps, who also served as Chief from 1953 to 1956.

Chief Chase was a very likable person, without a callous bone in his body. Very compassionate, he loved to chat and joke with the members. He always liked to know how you were doing. Chief Chase never liked handing out discipline; he left that part of the job to his officers (maybe that's why he was so well liked!).

The Chief was widely known for his chowder and clam cakes. Each year for Heritage Day, Chief Chase and his wife, Hazel, shared their family recipe for clam cakes and chowder with the community. Year after year, the clam cakes and chowder were a big hit with the returning patrons, families and friends.

Chief Chase took emergency care to a new level during his tenure. The rescue provided only basic emergency care, and personnel would have to call mutual aid or stop at neighboring departments for advance treatment for seriously ill or injured patients. It was time for change and, with the assistance of his rescue officers, care and treatment of patients took a turn for the better. The Chepachet Fire Company finally got its first Advanced Life Support Rescue.

As we ready for our 100th Anniversary, Chief Chase still has the same great attitude and sense of humor... only today he enjoys his retirement chatting and joking with his friends daily at the Glocester Senior Center.

Chief James O. Chase

James O. Chase
Chief
1991-1999

 

 

Chief Robert G. Dauphinais

Robert G. Dauphinais
Chief
1999-2019

Chief Robert G. Dauphinais began his career as a junior fireman, working his way up through the ranks and becoming Chief in 1999. He was an EMT and an Assistant Deputy State Fire Marshal. He was a member of the NFPA and the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Association.

Chief Dauphinais joined the Department as a full member in February of 1985. He served as Chief for 20 years, and in those 20 years accomplished many things for the Department. He replaced several pieces of apparatus, and was instrumental in having the Fire Station upgraded. With a lot of help from some of the members, he designed and built the back garage.

Chief Dauphinais was the driving force behind the Steak Fry for our Scholarship Fund, organizing and running the event for many years. He was also involved in the Chicken Barbecue and Chowder & Clam Cakes fundraisers held at the station.



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