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March 18, 2014 10:35:44 AM
Columbus Fire and Rescue Chief Kenneth Moore will retire at the end of the month.
Mayor Robert Smith announced Moore's retirement at a press conference Monday afternoon.
"I received a letter as of today from Chief Ken Moore," Smith said. "This letter is indicating to the Mayor and city council that he will officially retire on March 31. So he'll be on vacation until March 31. March 31 will be his last day as the fire chief of Columbus Fire and Rescue." Assistant Chief Martin Andrews will be leading the department in Moore's absence. Smith said he will recommend an interim chief at the April meeting of the city council but stopped short of saying he would recommend Andrews.
"That's a possibility. I'm going to leave it there to be fair to the other guys," Smith said.
Chief Moore could not be reached for comment. Moore has served as chief for the past nine years. He has been with the department for 30 years. During his tenure as chief, the city's fire rating has been lowered from a 5 to a 4, lowering insurance premiums for city residents. Last week, the department received national accreditation by the Center for Public Safety Excellence, the only fire department in the state to achieve that status.
Smith did not announce who will serve as the interim chief, but noted the person will have big shoes to fill.
"He has done an awesome job as chief and what better way to go out than on top," he said
"To be in the top one percent and the first fire department in the state of Mississippi and making history here in the city of Columbus as the first time that Columbus Fire and Rescue has been named and received accolades for a national fire department is awesome. It is a big plus for the city. Chief Moore has done an awesome job as chief and whoever the person may be that ends up being the fire chief, Chief Moore has set the bar and there's now one way for the fire department to go and that's far."
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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