The City of Woonsocket announces that Chief Paul A. Shatraw will be retiring on March 31, 2023, spanning a career of thirty-seven (37 years). Chief Shatraw was one my first appointments when I took office in 2013.
Chief Shatraw has had an incredible 37-year career with the Woonsocket Fire Department, having joined the department in 1986. He was promoted to Rescue Lieutenant of Rescue in 1989. Promoted to Fire Lieutenant in 1999 serving on Ladder 2 and Engine 1. Promoted to Fire Captain in 2009 serving as the House Captain of Engine 1 on Providence St. In 2012 he was promoted to Deputy Chief before being appointed the Chief of the Department in 2014. His career spans 37 years working through every rank and the Chief for over nine (9) years.
One of Chief Shatraw’s priorities when he first took the helm of the department was to replace an aging and unreliable fleet of fire trucks that were often in the repair shop. Over the last 10 years, Chief Shatraw has replaced four pumping engines, one ladder, all three rescues, numerous vehicles and including a new fireboat. The fleet replacement policy he created has provided a clear direction for the future and has increased the public’s safety as a result.
To assist with further professionalizing the department and ensuring firefighter safety, Chief Shatraw secured over $4 million in grant funding during his time with the department. With the use of grant funds, Chief Shatraw established the City’s Emergency Operations Center, State of the Art Fire Alarm systems for each station along with new Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for each member. He has secured all new Triband Portable radios for department interoperability and new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus.
Since 2020, Chief Shatraw has also assisted in leading the City of Woonsocket through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership, the department hosted numerous vaccine clinics, including a clinic that vaccinated a majority of first responders within the city.
Through out his career he has maintained his Rhode Island EMT Cardiac License, and was a founding member of the Woonsocket Regional Hazmat Team
He is currently the President of the Greater Woonsocket Fire Chiefs Association, Woonsocket Assistant EMA Director, on the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Fire Chief Association and a Governor’s appointment to the State Fire Training Council.
Throughout his career, Chief Shatraw has always put the safety of the City of Woonsocket firefighters, its residents and guests paramount to all. He has continuously strived to improve upon our department and has served as a leader to us all. We will all greatly miss him upon his retirement, but his lasting impact on our department and us all will be felt for years to come.