Leyden fire chief resigns; assistant chief expected to be promoted next week

Five of the seven members of the Leyden Fire Department, pictured at the station in December 2023. From left are Capt. Tom Raffensperger, Assistant Chief Carey Barton, Chief Nikolas Adamski, Tina Riddell and Corrinda Thompson. Not pictured are Timothy Howard and Ernest Royer. While Adamski plans to resign as chief, he will continue to serve on the department.

Five of the seven members of the Leyden Fire Department, pictured at the station in December 2023. From left are Capt. Tom Raffensperger, Assistant Chief Carey Barton, Chief Nikolas Adamski, Tina Riddell and Corrinda Thompson. Not pictured are Timothy Howard and Ernest Royer. While Adamski plans to resign as chief, he will continue to serve on the department. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 02-02-2024 11:18 AM

LEYDEN — With its fire chief resigning, Leyden has wasted no time in finding a successor, as it aims to promote its assistant fire chief next week.

Fire Chief Nikolas Adamski submitted his intention to resign from the top spot of the Fire Department earlier this month, citing a desire to dedicate more time to his family and full-time job, but he will continue to fill the role until the Selectboard appoints his successor. Once a new chief is appointed, Adamski will also continue to serve on the Fire Department. When reached by phone Tuesday, Adamski declined to comment.

Selectboard member Erica Jensen said Adamski “is valued by the Fire Department in Leyden and he’s valued by the Selectboard,” and the town is working on contract negotiations with Assistant Fire Chief Carey Barton, which she expects will be executed at a Monday morning working meeting. Barton was the only candidate for the job.

“It was a very straightforward process,” Jensen said of finding Adamski’s successor. “We’re trying to get to the next phase with the Leyden Fire Department and I think we’ll get there.”

While his time as fire chief was somewhat brief — he was appointed in May 2023 — Adamski undertook the successful rebuilding of the Fire Department, which was down to just him as the sole member at one point.

Over the course of the year, Adamski was able to recruit former and new firefighters for the volunteer department, bringing the total roster to seven people, which allows them to respond quickly to the scene and begin work while waiting for mutual aid to arrive.

“He stepped up at an incredibly critical time; he was able to help bring in a number of new firefighters and some firefighters that had worked for Leyden in the past,” Jensen said. “He did a fantastic job. … He’s been incredibly valuable and we have nothing but admiration and thankfulness for him.”

Leyden has a “strong fire chief,” which means the chief has the authority to make hires for the department, although it is expected that those hires appear before the Selectboard to keep the town updated on personnel.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Charlemont planners approve special permit for Hinata Mountainside Resort
Fire at Rainbow Motel in Whately leaves 17 without a home
$338K fraud drains town coffers in Orange
Hotfire Bar and Grill to open Memorial Day weekend in Shelburne Falls
Greenfield residents allege sound and odor issues from candle, cannabis businesses
Inaugural book festival looks to unite Stoneleigh-Burnham School with broader community

With Barton stepping up, Jensen said he will have a conversation with Adamski and Fire Capt. Tom Raffensperger about leadership roles in the department and then they will be looking toward the future of the department. Other priorities will include searching for new equipment and looking at regionalization options, which is a similar process the Police Department went through when the town signed a shared-policing agreement with Bernardston.

“We’re going to continue to work on training and mentoring these younger firefighters that are coming up,” Jensen said. “And also plan for what’s going to happen in three or four or five years, and that’s what we anticipate Carey being able to do.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.