Fire Chief Robert Yost has announced his retirement. It is effective January 1.
His replacement is a familiar face: Deputy Chief Michael Kronick. He will assume Yost’s other role too, as the town’s Emergency Management Director.
First Selectwoman Jen Tooker says, “The town and its residents have been very fortunate to be the beneficiaries of Rob’s expertise and dedication throughout his 34 years. As Fire Chief, Rob has assured that our firefighters are appropriately recruited, trained, and equipped to serve in their roles of preventing and fighting fires and providing rescue services.
“As the Emergency Management Director, Rob has been on the front lines in protecting all our residents. On Rob’s watch, Westport has weathered some particularly devastating storms and tense situations. In addition, his attention to FEMA reimbursement regulations and opportunities has enabled many Westporters to receive federal financial assistance in repairing/replacing their storm damaged properties.
“On behalf of the residents of Westport, his fellow employees, and his firefighting colleagues, I am grateful for Rob’s longstanding, exemplary and dedicated service. I wish him all the best in his retirement.”
Chief Yost notes, “It has been an honor to serve the town of Westport for the last 34 years, and a privilege to work with the finest Firefighters and coworkers in the State. I look forward to enjoying a new chapter in my life and I will always hold the Westport Fire Department near and dear to my heart.”
Tooker adds, “I am very confident that the command of the Westport Fire Department will remain in capable hands. Mike Kronick has the proven ability and expertise to seamlessly and effectively take over the role as chief. Like Chief Yost, Mike has a breadth of knowledge, skill and understanding that will ensure that the current high standards of safety and efficiency will be maintained in the Westport Fire Department.”
Yost began his career in the fire service in 1986 as a part-time firefighter in Mansfield, while attending the University of Connecticut. After briefly working for Xerox, he took a full-time position in Mansfield. He joined the Westport department in 1988.
He was the department’s first Emergency Medical Service instructor, then became a paramedic in 1995. In 2006, Yost was promoted to lieutenant. He was also Fire Department leader of the joint Fire and Police Dive Rescue Team.
In 2009 he was promoted to assistant chief. He was named fire chief and emergency management director in February 2017.
Yost’s father served as fire chief in Norwalk for 2 decades. A photo of Yost’s grandfather, also a firefighter, sitting atop a Norwalk fire truck adorns his desk.
During his career with Westport Fire Department he has obtained 3 Edmund Duffy Unit Citations, a John Gallagher Award for an Unusual Act of Valor, and a Certificate of Exemplary Police Action. He is a member of the National Ski Patrol, Connecticut Interstate Wildfire Crew, and Connecticut West Incident Management Team. His other interests include skiing, bicycle riding, scuba diving, windsurfing and kiteboarding. He lives in Milford with his wife Tina.
Kronick — Westport’s new fire chief — joined the Westport Fire Department in 1998. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2009, and deputy chief in 2017. During his career in Westport he has earned the Edmund Duffy Unit Citation, and the Chief Shippey and Argenio awards for service to the department.
Kronick serves on the Connecticut Incident Management Team. He was instrumental in forming the Fairfield County Strike Team and Task Force system. He is a member of the Connecticut Interstate Fire Crew, and been on several national wildfire deployments out West.
Kronick graduated from Fairfield High School in 1991. He has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Connecticut, and a masters in fire science from the University of New Haven.
He lives in Stratford with his fiancée Beth and his two young son, Sullivan (2 years old) and Anderson (3 weeks old).
(Earlier this month, Chief Yost was my guest on “06880: The Podcast.” Click below for that interview.)