Somerville Fire Department Promotions


By William Tauro

Photo: Ward 1 Alderman Matt McLaughlin with recently promoted SFD Lt. Josue Velney and Josue’s brothers and friends.

This past Thursday evening five Somerville Firefighters were promoted in rank at city hall.

Below are the new promotion’s bio’s.

Wallace Forrest – Deputy Fire Chief:

Wallace became a firefighter in January 1988. In 1996, he was promoted to Lieutenant, in 2008 he became a Captain and in 2012 he was promoted to District Chief. After graduating from Matignon High, Wallace went on to Bentley College and soon after opened his own store Magic Carpet. Wallace is a Certified First Responder and EMT including CPR – Automatic external defibulator.
His training includes National Incident Management System, Confined Space Rescue Tech, High Angle Rescue Tech and Incident Command training. He also has certifications for ICS 300, 700 and 800 and Hazardous Material Operation Level.

Christopher Major – District Fire Chief:

Chris served in the United States Navy from 1984 to 1989 before becoming a firefighter in May 1995. He received an AS degree in Criminal Justice from Bunker Hill Community College and went on to receive his BS in Fire Administration from Salem State College. Chris continued his studies at Anna Maria College and received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration in 2013. Chris was first promoted to Lieutenant in 2001 and became an Acting Fire Captain in 2008. In 2010, he became a permanent Captain. Chris is also an instructor for the Massachusetts Fire Academy in Stow since 2008. In 2006, he was awarded the VFW Post 19 Thomas Chetham Award. Among his many certifications are EMT, Firefighter I & II, Fire Officer I & II, Fire Inspector I & II, Fire Instructor I, Health and Safety Officer and Fire Investigator.

Mark Matthew – Fire Captain:

Before becoming a Firefighter in June 2001, Mark studied at Suffolk University, where he received both a Bachelor of Science and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. Mark continued with his studies and received a second Masters’ Degree in Fire Science and Administration from Anna Maria College in 2005. Mark was promoted to Lieutenant in 2010. His licenses and certifications include Firefighter I and II, EMT and he is certified as a Peer Fitness Trainer for the American Council on Exercise.


Josue Velney – Fire Lieutenant:

Josue is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps where he served in the Military Police from 2004 – 2009. Upon his return, Josue became a Firefighter in November of 2009. Once home, he started his studies at Bunker Hill Community College where he received his Associates Degree in Fire Science. While attending he was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was on the Dean’s list for several semesters. Josue has countless awards and recognitions that he received while serving in the military. To name just a few…a Certification of Meritorious Mast, a Navy Unit Commendation, a National Defense Service Medal, an Iraq Campaign Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (Kuwait), Combat Action (Iraq) and several others. Among his certifications and qualifications, he holds MA Professional Firefighter I & II, EMT, HAZMAT Operational Certification, Ice Rescue Technician, Rope and Confined Space Certification. He is a certified personal trainer for the American Council on Exercise. Josue has attended the U.S. Marine Corps Military Police Training Academy, U.S. Marine Corps School of Infantry, U.S. Marine Corps Advanced Infantry, Combat Hunter, the U. S. Army Quick Reaction force, U. S. Marine Corps Special Reaction Team and U. S. Marine Corps Special Operation Non-Lethal Weapon and Tactics.

Paul Sullivan – Fire Lieutenant:

Paul Sullivan became a firefighter in June 1989. He attended Bunker Hill Community College, where he received and Associates of Science, Fire Science and Safety Technology. In 2008, Paul returned to Bunker Hill where he received an Associates of Science, Medical Imaging. Paul has utilized this last degree performing diagnostic x-ray examinations of inmates in a variety of Massachusetts correctional facilities. Paul has both an EMT license and a Radiologic Technologist license. In 1993, Paul was named the Somerville Firefighter of the Year, in recognition of his heroic rescue efforts during a fire on Russell St. He is also a member of the Greater Boston Firefighters Pipes and Drums as a Bagpiper.

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