RUMFORD – Chris Bryant officially became a deputy chief of the Rumford Fire Department on Sunday.

Bryant, a 12-year veteran of the department and a member of the call force for three years before that, was named an acting deputy chief about a year ago when Scott Holmes left for a job in the private sector.

Bryant, 36, was promoted by Town Manager Jim Doar and joins Deputy Chiefs Richard Coulombe and Ben Byam.

Bryant has been fascinated by the fire service ever since he did an independent study week with the Rumford Fire Department when he was a sophomore at Mountain Valley High School. He grew up with Chris Boivin, the son of former Fire Chief Eugene Boivin.

“I liked what I saw,” he said.

The promotion pleases him, because it is a step up the ladder in his chosen profession, he said.

Deputy chief duties include serving as commander at the scenes of fire or emergency incidents and serving as shift supervisor.

He is also the first deputy chief appointed who will serve as shift commander for a team of three, rather than four, something, he said, that will present a new challenge because the workload for firefighters is increasing while the number of firefighters drops.

Doar said the eventual goal for the Fire Department is to reduce the number of full-time employees from the original 14 to 11 through attrition.

Bryant said deliberations over whether to fill the soon-to-be-vacant fire chief position from within the department, from outside, or through splitting the leadership position with the Rumford Police Department will also present new challenges.

Bryant, a Rumford native, is a 1990 graduate of Mountain Valley High School who lives in Mexico with his wife, Heather. He is the father of a teenage daughter. He also serves on the call force for the Mexico Fire Department, works part time for the Oakdale Gold Club in the summers, plays golf, does woodworking, snowmobiles and skis.

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