| Kristin Regula
WILBRAHAM – A new deputy chief is carrying a family legacy in the Wilbraham Fire Department.
Newly promoted Deputy Chief Peter Nothe has only been at his new post for about two weeks, but his career as a firefighter has spanned nearly 40 years. His brother Francis Nothe was chief for 14 years until his retirement this year on Jan. 20.
There is also a new Nothe in the ranks. Peter Nothe’s son, Andrew, has only been at the Wilbraham Fire Department for over a year but it seems like he is following in his father’s footsteps, the way Nothe followed in his brother’s.
Both Francis and Peter started their firefighting careers in Monson. Nothe then went to Wilbraham, but went between both the Monson fire department and the Wilbraham fire department for 36 years and 30 years respectively.
“I did 36 years in Monson, and during that time of course I started here in ’87 and I’ve been here ever since,” Nothe told Reminder Publications.
According to Nothe, multigenerational family members in firehouses is not uncommon and is something that can be found all over the country from the smallest towns to the largest cities.
“I don’t think we planned it that way, with my brother and I,” said Nothe. “I think it just happened. My brother was at Monson for many years, and I followed him there.”
Due to still being new at his job, Nothe is still trying to figure out the day to day.
“I’m still working that out,” said Nothe.
He isn’t the only one in a new role either. Due to Francis Nothe’s retirement, a new chief had to be brought in as well – David F. Bourcier. As a result, both men now have shoes to fill.
“He [Bourcier] was the deputy chief so now he’s making the transition to chief and then slowly stuff will start to trickle down to me,” said Nothe.
Since Nothe’s son Andrew is also in the Wilbraham Fire Department that means Andrew is one of the men who will be working for the new deputy chief.
“As it was for me working for my brother, it’s probably the same for him. It’s probably a little harder. I’m going to hold him to a different standard because he’s my son, I can,” said Nothe. “Same with my brother.”
Despite being in a position that involves a lot of administrative work and being in a larger leadership capacity, Nothe doesn’t plan to stop fighting fires anytime soon.
“I still like it. I still like keeping my hand in it,” said Nothe. “It’s what I got into the fire service for in the beginning. As much as I’m very happy in this position, I still miss doing the job.”
Current projects that will need to be completed by Nothe include filling his old position as captain of the Wilbraham Fire Department and working with Bourcier to buy a new Ladder Truck.
It is Nothe’s goal one day to be chief of the Wilbraham Fire Department himself.
“If that opportunity arose I would certainly jump at the chance,” said Nothe.