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City of Buckhannon hires new fire chief

BUCKHANNON — A month or so earlier than expected, Buckhannon City Council announced Buckhannon Fire Department’s new fire chief this week.

During the city council meeting Thursday evening, Mayor David McCauley stated Interim Fire Chief JB Kimble would be taking the permanent role as fire chief for the Buckhannon Fire Department.

Kimble had served in an interim capacity since former Fire Chief Jim Townsend resigned from the position in early January.

“We received a number of outstanding, exemplary, qualified folks that we’ve been vetting for the past several days,” said McCauley.

The mayor said that, during an executive session to discuss the final process to select a fire chief, “the light bulb collectively came on.”

“Virtually everyone that is in a supervisory position with us came up through the ranks… It became a no-brainer for us when JB Kimble filed his application,” he said. “I think we all were immediately drawn to it and recognized what we would end up doing.

“And rather than go through additional processes that frankly would’ve been somewhat disingenuous to other applicants that we might have chosen to interview, we have decided that we wanted to take more immediate action on announcing our new fire chief.”

After the motion was put on the table, council members unanimously voted to hire Kimble in the permanent position.

“I want to thank you all for the opportunity to serve the city,” Kimble said after being sworn in. “I’ve been here for a long time, and the foundation has been built through the years … The fire department is not an ‘I’ team, it’s a ‘We’ team, and we’re a family.”

He said his family and wife have been supportive during his time serving on the fire department.

“My wife knows — we’ve been married for a long time — that the fire department is very important and the people we serve,” said Kimble. “I’ll do the best I can to serve the city of Buckhannon.”

Council members expressed support and gratitude for Kimble’s role.

“I know that we hired the absolute right person for the fire department,” said council member Robbie Skinner. “So, I’m thrilled. I think we’ve got a great group of guys down there, and I’m confident in their abilities to protect the citizens of this community.”

Also discussed at

the meeting:

• Council approved purchasing a sponsorship table at the 2018 Chamber of Commerce annual dinner.

• Council voted for Buckhannon to become a HEARTSafe Community.

• Council voted to go forward with applying for a fire prevention and safety grant program risk assessment.

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