Harp Donnelly IV Sworn In As Newport Fire Chief

Humphrey “Harp” Donnelly IV, a native Newporter and 23-year veteran of the Newport Fire Department, has been named the City’s new Fire Chief.

He replaces Fire Chief Brian Dugan, who retired last month after leading the City’s Fire Department for the past 5 years.

As Deputy Chief and a member of the Department’s leadership team, Donnelly has been a part of the front line response to a number of emergency situations during his tenure, including the 2019 gas outage and the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Harp has been an integral piece of the Newport Fire Department and has served the City well,” said City Manager Joseph J. Nicholson, Jr. in announcing the appointment. “He has been pivotal in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a valued member of the department’s leadership team.”

Donnelly, who had been serving as Acting Chief since last month, was sworn in on the steps of City Hall by City Clerk Laura Swistak at 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

“I am very fortunate to have been born into a family with a strong history of public service to the City of Newport,” said Donnelly. “Next to be being born into my family, being hired to work for the City of Newport’s Fire Department is one of most significant positive events in my life.

“Our City’s Fire Department is comprised of many extremely talented and well trained members with a proud history of serving our community. I have had the honor of serving the City of Newport as a member of its Fire Department for over 23 years.

I am humbled by this opportunity to help lead the department and help work to meet the current and future emergency needs of our community. I start this next chapter of my career with combined sense of pride, confidence, and gratitude.”

Donnelly, who first joined the Department in October of 1998, has had a steady rise through the ranks, earning promotions to Fire Lieutenant in August 2012, Fire Captain in June 2017, and Deputy Fire Chief in January of 2020.

According to Nicholson, he was selected from among a pool of highly qualified applicants, all of whom know the Department and the City well.

“We were extremely fortunate to have a number of very impressive candidates interview for the job,” he said. “Harp rose to the top, and I think he’ll lead the Department well.”



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