LFD deputy chief leaving to take a top Dept. of Safety job

LACONIA — After nine years with the Fire Department, Deputy Fire Chief Deb Pendergast has been appointed director of the Division of Fire Standards and Training and Emergency Medical Services at the New Hampshire Department of Safety.

Pendergast alone among the 18 candidates for the position was nominated by Governor Maggie Hassan. She was unanimously confirmed by the Executive Council when it met last week. She will oversee both the Fire Academy, which serves as the Northeast regional training facility for Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Personnel, and the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, where she majored in psychology, Pendergast is pursuing a master's degree in pubic administration at the University of New Hampshire. She has spent two decades in the fire service. 11 with the East Derry Fire Department, where she rose to the rank of lieutenant, and the last nine as deputy chief in Laconia, joining the department as the highest ranking female firefighter in the state.

As deputy chief Pendergast secured more than $1.2 million in grants for the department, including most recently $642,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to add four firefighters for two years.

City Manager Scott Myers said that "the state's gain will be Laconia's loss as she is a valuable resource for our community." The community, he noted, should be proud that "the governor thought highly enough of one our own to nominate her to this important position."