Roloff resigns as fire chief
Muskevitsch appointed interim chief in New London
By Scott Bellile
Bart Roloff stepped down as New London’s fire chief last week after almost seven years as head of the volunteer fire department.
Roloff submitted a letter of resignation to the City of New London on Thursday, Sept. 10, ending a 30-year career with New London Fire Department. Assistant Chief Dick Muskevitsch was appointed interim fire chief, New London Police and Fire Commission Chairman Joe Kable said.
No timeline has been set for hiring the next fire chief, Kable said. The topic will be discussed at a police and fire commission meeting on Monday, Sept. 21.
Kable was uncertain why Roloff resigned and declined to share what knowledge he had. He said he hopes to sit down with Roloff and learn his reasons.
Kable said he believes the requirements for serving a fire department are becoming tougher. The stress paired with the low pay could be motivators for some to quit, he said.
“I think the fire department has lost a good chief. Bart did an excellent job,” Kable said.
Muskevitsch is happy to step up and assume the interim role in the meantime, Kable said.
“I believe Dick’s going to handle it just fine,” Kable said. “I guess I’m not really too concerned about it right now.”
Roloff declined to speak about the matter and a phone call to Muskevitsch was not returned.
Kable expressed satisfaction with the way Roloff handled duties such as helping the department purchase a new Marion Body Works fire engine this summer, training new firefighters and taking over building inspection duties when a job was cut at the beginning of Roloff’s career.
In 2002, Roloff came up with the idea of decorating the fire department’s 1934 Buffalo Fire Truck every September as a tribute to the firefighters who died in the 9/11 attacks.
Roloff joined New London Fire Department on March 1, 1985, City Administrator Kent Hager said. Roloff was appointed fire chief on Oct. 13, 2008.