ANDOVER — Chief Michael Mansfield and Andover Fire Rescue regretfully announce the passing of retired Chief Harold F. Hayes on Saturday, July 3. He was 84.
Chief Hayes served the Andover community for more than 35 years. He began his career with Andover Fire Rescue in 1961 as a firefighter. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1965 and to deputy chief in 1968. He served as chief from 1986 until his retirement in 1996.
Chief Hayes, a native of Andover, graduated from Andover High School (formerly Punchard High School).
During his tenure as chief, he implemented numerous innovative initiatives, including requiring all newly hired firefighters to graduate from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy and to become certified emergency medical technicians (EMT).
He was also instrumental in developing the two-tiered emergency medical services system in collaboration with Lawrence General Hospital (LGH). This system allows for LGH paramedics to respond alongside Andover Fire Rescue EMTs in order to provide a higher level of patient care when necessary.
Additionally, he hired the first female firefighter to the organization and introduced computerized records across the department.
“Chief Hayes made great strides in helping our department to become a more modern, advanced and forward-looking organization,” said Chief Mansfield. “He will be truly missed and the many contributions that he made to the Andover community will not be forgotten. On behalf of the department, I send my deep condolences to his family.”
Chief Hayes was an active member of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, the Essex County Fire Chiefs Association, the Executive Officers Association, the National Firefighter Volunteers Association and the National Emergency Medical Services Association. For many years, he served on the board of directors and as president of the New England Division of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
He also served three terms as a member of the Town of Andover Patriotic Holiday Committee.
Before becoming a firefighter, he served in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Naval Reserve and the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.
Funeral services for Chief Hayes will be held privately.