FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Thursday morning, Fairmont’s Fire Civil Service Commission approved the City Manager’s appointment of Captain Brian Starn to act as Provisional Fire Chief until the official test can be given and graded to establish a permanent chief.
Starn boasts nearly 26 years of experience with the fire department, having joined the department in 1998. He currently holds the title of Captain and is the department’s Fire Prevention Training Officer.
“There needs to be somebody locally that has authority, control, and oversees things at the department,” Starn said following his appointment. “It’s good that we’re able to get this position filled in interim so there’s no real lapse in accountability.”
The process of selecting a permanent fire chief is lengthy and will require candidates to be tested on everything from the most basic knowledge of firefighting all the way up to knowledge of the administrative duties required of the chief on a daily basis. The Civil Service Commission agreed to hold the test mid-October of this year.
There are currently two firefighters in the department eligible to test for the chief position — Captain Brian Starn and Captain Mark Angelucci.
Starn’s appointment fills the vacancy left in the role of fire chief following the retirement of Fire Chief Ed Simmons earlier this year. Simmons had served as chief since 2016 and devoted over 30 years to the Fairmont Fire Department.
Fire Civil Service Commission Chair David Perkins, a retired Fairmont firefighter, said that it was important for the commission and the city to get this position filled as they prepare for the upcoming test to determine the permanent chief.
“If you don’t have an individual in the chief’s position, these firefighters have questions everyday about their activities, work schedules, and things that they need to ask the chief. If we don’t have somebody there to give an answer, people might not always follow protocol,” Perkins said. “Now we have somebody in that position who can answer when questions arise and hopefully get things resolved.”