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Jan 8, 2016 12:00 AM

Former Nashua police chief killed in fire incident remembered fondly as caring, helpful

NASHUA – The State Fire Marshal has confirmed the man who died in a tragic accident in Andover Thursday was the former Nashua Police Chief, Don Gross.

READ: Former Nashua police chief dies in outdoor incident involving a fire at Andover home

“You just mention his name and everyone knows it,” said Ed Lecius, the Community Policing Coordinator for the Nashua Police Department.

Gross worked as an officer for 32 years and served as the Nashua Police Chief from 2000-2004, before retiring and moving back to family owned land in Andover.

“He loved his service in the police department. He put in 32 years and he’ll be missed,” Lecius said.

As an officer, Gross was entrusted to launch the Nashua Police Athletic League, a program for officers to interact with kids on a positive level. The program is still in place.

As Chief, he was proactive following the Sept. 11 attacks. He launched a citywide study looking at potential terror targets, the report is still being used to this day, Lecius said.

In Andover, Gross started a driveway repair business, an ice cream shop, he was involved with The Lions Club, and served as a town Selectman.

Gross was also on the ‘American Chunkers’ team, a world record holding pumpkin launching team.

In a statement, a representative for the team said Gross would surely be missed.

“Don was an incredible teammate and friend that will be missed beyond words. He was the most caring and helpful person one could ever hope to encounter. The world will truly be a far lesser place without Don.”

Gross was well respected and loved life, Lecius said.

“He was very opinionated and he got involved, and if he liked something you knew it and if he didn’t like something you knew it. But that was a good quality that he had,” Lecius said.

Nashua Mayor Donallee Lozeau described him as easy going, terrific to work with and said ‘he cared deeply about his profession.’ She called the accident ‘heartbreaking.’

Gross died following a brush fire accident at his home, the Fire Marshal said.

Don Gross was 65 years old, he leaves behind a wife and sons.

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