Wellesley names its first full-time fire chief

After sifting through 30 applications from as far afield as Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Germany and Dubai, the Township of Wellesley found a new fire chief close to home.

The successful candidate is Andrew Lillico, deputy fire chief for the City of Waterloo. Lillico was offered the job at a special caucus meeting of council June 22.

“He has an extensive skill set that covered off all the job requirements that the municipality had in mind when we went into the process,” said CAO Susan Duke in an interview.

The township has been looking to fill the position since last October, when former chief Dave Geil resigned, citing personal reasons.

In April, council decided to make the position a full-time one, giving the chief a larger role in emergency management and adding fire inspections to the list of responsibilities.

Lillico has nearly 25 years of firefighting experience, having started as a volunteer with the Elmira Fire Department in 1985. He was a firefighter in Waterloo for 10 years before taking on the job of fire prevention officer. Lillico, who lives in north Waterloo, has been deputy chief since 2005.

In that role, Lillico was responsible for the city’s emergency management plan. He also has experience conducting fire investigations and inspections, including developing a contract for Wellesley Township fire code inspections when the township contracted the work out.

Between 2001 and 2006, Lillico was an instructor for Conestoga College’s pre-service firefighter program.

Lillico said he’s excited about taking on the role of the first full-time fire chief in the township.

“I look forward to working with the district chiefs and building a strong, effective management team for the operation of all three stations together.”

One of his areas of focus will be enhancing the fire education program.

“I believe already we’ve got some very strong fire suppression capabilities, but we’re going to move more into the fire prevention and public education realm,” he said.

Lillico still has to be appointed to the position by township bylaw, which will likely happen at the next council meeting. He’s hoping to start his new job around July 7.

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