WESTFIELD, NJ — David Kelly was promoted from deputy chief to chief of the Westfield Fire Department Tuesday night with a ceremony at the Westfield Town Council meeting. Kelly follows in the footsteps of his brother, Dan Kelly, who served as fire chief until his death last month from cancer.

“It is important at this time, as we move forward, to recognize that although this transition of leadership in the fire department was precipitated by the unexpected, untimely and heartbreaking situation, David Kelly has earned the title of chief based on the merits of his experience, his education, his dedication, his service and his vision,” said Mayor Andy Skibitsky.

Skibitsky spoke of David Kelly’s many achievements. Among them, Kelly began his firefighting career in 1988 as a volunteer. He attended the University of Vermont and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry. He became a paid firefighter in 1992 and since then has worked his way up through the ranks, earning a Master of Science degree in fire protection management from John Jay College of Criminal Justice along the way. He became deputy fire chief in 2005, Skibitsky said.

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After swearing in as fire chief, Kelly gave a speech thanking members of the fire department, his family, his friends, and his brother, Dan.


“I wish that he was here to share in this moment with me,” said David Kelly about Dan Kelly. “It will be an honor to serve as his successor.”