After 43 years as a firefighter in Winthrop, including the last 20-plus years as Fire Inspector, Captain William “Ned” Hazlett has retired and will be honored for his dedicated service to the town on Saturday, March 24 at the Winthrop Yacht Club from 6 to 11 p.m.
Tickets for the event are $20 and provide participants with an evening of food, drink, music, raffles and more. Anyone wishing to attend the event can purchase a ticket by contacting the Winthrop Fire Station on Pauline Street.
“Ned has really been a great asset to me,” noted Winthrop Fire Chief Paul Flanagan. “Fire Prevention, particularly in the last ten years or so, has really grown as the industry began to understand that we are better off trying to prevent fires than putting them out and Ned was really a major part of our fire prevention program.”
Hazlett, like many career firefighters, comes from a firefighting family, as he followed in the footsteps of his father, Ed Hazlett, who served the town for 42 years including his last 18 months as the town’s first fire chief.
Flanagan noted wryly that Ned, like his father before him, waited as long as he could before retiring and leaving a job he so obviously cared about.
“He’d still be here if he could be,” said the chief. “But with maximum retirement ages and civil service he had to retire.”
“Large scale fires, like the Station Nightclub fire in Rhode Island, really changed the fire prevention laws and the attitude toward fire inspections in general and Captain Hazlett certainly had a lot to do to help our businesses make sure they were compliant with the new laws,” added Chief Flanagan.
Chief Flanagan also praised the Winthrop firefighters union, Local 1070 for “:stepping up to the plate” and organizing and hosting the retirement event to honor Hazlett and recognize other fire department retirees.
“It’s a lot of work they put in and they have reached out to all of the former firefighters in town and made sure to include them and they will all be acknowledged,” said Flanagan. “It’s a very nice thing they’re doing.”
Hazlett’s role as the town’s fire inspector and fire prevention officer has been taken over by Captain Richard Swartz, and Flanagan noted that the transition has been smooth and will ensure the town continues to have a qualified and highly effective fire prevention program.
“As we potentially make a transition here to a community that could be neighbor to a casino community, fire prevention and code enforcement will continue to be a major concern for our community and though we’re all sad to see Ned leave, we are also in capable hands with Captain Swartz taking over,” said Flanagan.