DRACUT -- Dracut fire Captain Greg Gagnon spent 18 years fighting fires for the town of Dracut, but on Monday the 38-year-old father took an oath and became the fire chief for the north shore town of Ipswich.
Gagnon, who began his career in Dracut as a call firefighter in 1996 and became a career firefighter in 1998, said he got into firefightering out of a desire to serve.
"I wanted to serve in the community and it kind of fell into place," he said of his career.
Gagnon said leaving Dracut is "bittersweet," but that he wanted to see how far he could advance his career.
Sworn in Monday by Ipswich Town Clerk Pamela Carakatsane, Gagnon now takes command of a department with 18 career firefighters and about a dozen call firefighters.
In comparison, Dracut employs about 40 career firefighters, according to Gagnon.
Gagnon said his new job will include a lot more administration than his job as a captain in Dracut, but that he's looking forward to the challenge.
"You hate to lose anyone," said Dracut Chief David Brouillette. "Dracut fire is a family, but just like when your kids do well they move on. He got an opportunity and I'm glad he took it."
Brouillette said Gagnon has a lot of potential for such a young man and should do well with his new command.
"He's going to do great things," Brouillette said.
Gagnon said his first day was spent getting to know people in Ipswich and learning his away around.
Several Dracut firefighters drove to Ipswich to attend the swearing in of their former colleague.
"It was closing one chapter, sadly, in my life, but I'm excited to start the new one," Gagnon said. "I'm looking forward to serving Ipswich, but I'm going to miss serving the Town of Dracut."
Follow Robert Mills on Twitter and Tout @Robert_Mills