September 15 2020

Fire Department Welcomes New Member as Long-Time Member Mike Runyan Retires

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Fire Department welcomed a new member on Monday night as it also said farewell to a longtime member who recently retired. 


At the recommendation of Fire Chief Mike Patterson, Town Administrator Paul Sagarino appointed Evan Matthew Austin to the department on Monday night during a virtual meeting of the Board of Selectmen. Austin will replace newly-retired firefighter Selectman Mike Runyan who stepped out of his position last week after 31 years with the department. 


Patterson said Austin, a Cambridge resident, is a graduate of Medford High School and has a degree from UMass Lowell. He is a certified EMT paramedic with additional certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Life Support. He is currently employed in PRO EMS. 


“He came highly recommended by everyone we spoke to, including field training officers,” Patterson said.  


Patterson joked that Austin had one more skill they were eager to have at the station. 


“He also has a background in food service which comes in handy in a fire service,” he said. “I’m sure when he comes on board he’ll be asked to use some of those cooking skills.” 


Members of the board unanimously voted to waive the standard 15-day waiting period on new hires. They also said they were happy to have him on board. 


“Evan’s resume speaks volumes and the Burlington Fire Department will be lucky to have him and he’ll be lucky to be working in the department from what I hear,” Selectman Nick Priest said. 


They also congratulated Runyan on his retirement. 


“Michael, congratulations on 31 years of carrying that equipment up and down stairs and on ladders and now you never have to carry it again for the rest of your life because I’m sure the amount of equipment you have to carry these days weighs more than you do, my friend” Board Chairman Joe Morandi said. “Congratulations on your retirement.” 


“It’s been a pleasure,” Runyan said. “Every shift I went to work, I wouldn’t even call it work. It was indescribable and we have a great bunch of guys. I couldn’t be prouder of the Burlington Fire Department and the service we are able to provide the community. It’s been my pleasure.” 


“Congratulations Mike, job well done,” Selectman Jim Tigges said.


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