Fire Chief Warren retires, Hopkins names successor

Herald Staff Reports
Posted 12/27/23

Herald Staff Reports

Cranston’s Fire Chief formally announced his retirement last week and Mayor Kenneth Hopkins announced his successor.

Fire Chief James Warren formalized his …

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Fire Chief Warren retires, Hopkins names successor


Cranston’s Fire Chief formally announced his retirement last week and Mayor Kenneth Hopkins announced his successor.

Fire Chief James Warren formalized his intentions to retire at the Dec. 18 city council meeting, requesting to be placed on the city pension list. He is leaving after 38 years in the Cranston Fire Department and three years serving as chief, and in his place Deputy Chief Robert Ryan will take command.

“Chief Jim Warren has had a distinguished thirty-eight-year career in public safety for the residents of Cranston and he will be missed as he begins a new chapter in his life upon a well-deserved retirement,” Mayor Hopkins wrote in a recent press release. 

The mayor noted that Chief Warren has overseen a fire department which, every day, gets high marks from citizens for their fire and emergency rescue services. 

“Cranston residents know that in times of fire or medical emergency, Cranston fire personnel stand ready to promptly and professionally respond,” Hopkins said. “Chief Warren’s stewardship as fire chief has continued the great tradition of fire service protection in our community.”

“From the earliest days of my administration, Jim helped lead our city efforts as we implemented a Covid 19 vaccination program with our Department of Senior Services,” Hopkins continued.  “We didn’t have a governmental model to follow and with Jim’s leadership we were able to implement a plan to successfully vaccinate hundreds of senior residents in a smooth and effective program.”

As recently as last week, Hopkins noted, Chief Warren led public safety efforts to rescue and protect residents impacted by the extensive rain and flooding that impacted some low-lying Cranston neighborhoods.

Mayor Hopkins commended Warren on his administrative efforts to manage the department’s $37 million budget. With attention to proper staffing levels, encouraging firefighters to return to work after injury recovery and overseeing two recruiting drives, the mayor said Chief Warren has impacted the management operations of the department.

Hopkins added, “most importantly” that he has encouraged and promoted the department in diversity and minority recruitment. “My priority for our fire department to attract and hire female and minority candidates has met with success because of Jim Warren’s leadership.”

“On behalf of all Cranstonians, I thank Jim for his long and unselfish commitment to public service and wish him and his wife Colleen the best as they start a new chapter in their lives upon the chief’s deserving retirement,” Hopkins said.

Deputy Chief Ryan, a thirty-six-year Cranston firefighter, will succeed James Warren as the leader of the fire department. In making the announcement, Hopkins said he was very pleased to appoint Ryan to lead Cranston’s fire and emergency medical service personnel.

“I interviewed three highly qualified candidates to be our Chief, but in the end, I just felt that Chief Ryan was the right person at this time to take the department reins,” Hopkins said. “His thirty-six years of service and experience across the varied divisions and tasks of firefighting makes Chief Ryan an excellent choice.  He has my confidence and is well respected by the rank-and-file members of the fire department.”

Robert Ryan joined the Cranston Fire Department in January 1988 and has risen through the ranks while serving in all stations around the city. As Deputy Chief since January 2019, Ryan currently has command responsibility for one half of the city and provides direct supervision of personnel in Stations 1, 2 and 3.  He responds to all fire or emergency calls in his designated area to provide in the field supervision to Cranston’s first responders.

The mayor said during his distinguished career Chief Ryan has seen and responded to thousands of calls to assist residents and businesses involved with fires, accidents, and medical emergencies.

“Chief Ryan will bring that broad based experience to the chief’s office as he enters a new role of management leadership for departmental administration,” Hopkins said. “Overseeing the full complement of firefighters and the $37 million budget will demand Chief Ryan to draw upon his firefighting knowledge of equipment, recruitment, training, disaster preparation and staffing.”

“I am honored and grateful to Mayor Hopkins for his confidence in selecting me to be Cranston’s next fire chief,” Ryan said. “I pledge to the members of the department and the Cranston community that we will work hard every day to protect the city and maintain our excellent record of fire and emergency services.”

Robert Ryan resides in Scituate with his wife Jane, and they are the proud parents of three adult children.

The mayor said he is forwarding Deputy Chief Robert Ryan’s name to the City Council for its advice and consent.  A hearing will be scheduled before the Council Finance Committee at a date to be determined in consultation with the city council leadership.


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