After 40 years with the New London Fire Department, Chief Henry Kydd, Jr. is retiring on Tuesday.
Kydd served as chief for the last five and a half years. Before that, he was deputy chief for a year, spent about 17 years as a battalion chief, eight as a lieutenant and another eight as a firefighter/EMT.
Among the accomplishments he’s proud of in his tenure, Kydd listed getting his firefighters a new fire engine and ambulance, and a second set of gear.
He was also awarded multiple grants. One helped the department reduce cancer risks by putting extractors and dryers in each station. Chemicals and particulate matter get on firefighters during fire and medical calls, according to Kydd. The equipment prevents it from spreading in the station or into firefighters’ homes.
To this chief, the New London fire department is “like a family.”
“Yesterday was a little melancholy but today I’m realizing it’s going to happen and I’m really happy about it. I’m looking forward to spending my time with my wife and my grandkids and my kids and the in-laws,” Kydd said.
While his phone would ring non-stop as chief—he cited it going off during a rare time off in Florida—Kydd still said he’s still only a call away, especially for incoming chief, Battalion Chief Tom Curcio.
“I’m going to be invested in the community and if Tom needs anything or needs any advice, I told him just call. We’ve been friends for years, if he didn’t call I’d be upset,” Kydd said.
Kydd graduated New London High School in 1970. That’s where he’ll officially hand over command to Curcio on Wednesday night. Curcio was Kydd’s recommendation for his replacement.
“He’s the logical choice and he’s ready for it. He’s got the energy. It’s going to drain him but I think he’s going to be fine,” Kydd said. “He’s prepared.”
In his new time off, Kydd’s looking forward to taking a vacation, spending time with his six grandchildren, and dusting off that "honey-do" list.
“I have a love of music and I haven’t played my guitars in a long time, so I’m going to start playing those. I’d like to go golfing a little bit more often,” he laughed.