A fire captain in the Foxboro Fire Department had been a finalist for the fire chief job in neighboring Norfolk.

David Healy, a town resident, was one of three finalists for the position that went to Erron Kinney, the fire chief in Sherborn and who formerly played in the NFL.

The other finalist interviewed Tuesday night by Norfolk selectmen -- who supported the recommendation of Town Administrator Blythe Robinson to appoint Kinney, was Walpole Deputy Fire Chief Paul Barry.

Kinney, 42, became fire chief in Sherborn in July 2017, is one of only three full-timers and until last October had been the only full-timer on that department that is mostly staffed with call firefighters.

Kinney had been a firefighter, captain and deputy fire chief. He was a firefighter in South Carolina and fire chief until 2014 in Tennessee where he had played for the Tennessee Titans in the NFL for eight years over six seasons.

Referring to himself being an African American, Kinney pledged to work to bring more diversity to the fire department, including more females.

"I think this is a better fit for us," Robinson said of Kinney, adding he was the only finalist who has been a fire chief and has a diverse background he will be able to draw on.

But Robinson acknowledged it was a "tough choice" among the finalists.

"They were fantastic candidates, all had great experience and a lot to offer," select board Chairman Kevin Kalkut said.

In his interview, Healy, 52, mentioned he had been with the Foxboro department for 36 years, having gone from a call firefighter in 1983 to full-time six years later, and became captain in 2004. He became accredited to be a fire chief in 2016, received related training from a national fire academy, and has a master's in public administration.

Healy, a paramedic, had been the Foxboro department's EMS coordinator for 14 years, and developed the department's paramedic service in 2001. A charter member of a hazardous waste materials team, Healy has also been a training coordinator and had a lot of experience with planning and overseeing events at Gillette Stadium.

The finalist also pointed to his experience with budgets.

Healy said more of an effort needs to be done to meet the needs of a growing senior population with fall prevention and fire safety -- the latter he said he has been heavily involved with.

In reference to Norfolk's need for a new fire station, Healy noted Foxboro spent "over 20 years" planning for its "new" station that opened about a decade ago.

He also highlighted the need to recruit and train call firefighters, singling out Plainville as being very successful in that area.

The three finalists were recommended by a search committee from a pool of applicants.

Kinney replaces Coleman Bushnell, who retired as chief in June.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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