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New Fire Chief takes reign this week

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Protect, prevent, serve, educate and assist is what Chief Jim Niedhard promises to the community of Bellbrook during his reign of Fire Chief that begins Monday, January 3. Stepping down from his position of Deputy Fire Chief for Washington Township Fire Department, he fills the spot of retiring Chief Scott Hall.

Chief Niedhard comes to Bellbrook with 24 years of experience encircling both fire and EMS services. His love of firefighting started with his first job at Miamisburg Fire Department. Since then, he has worked part-time and full-time positions in Washington Township Fire Department, where most recently, for the past seven years, he has been serving as Deputy Fire Chief for the Washington Township Fire Department. He has also had roles in Fire Administration, Emergency Management, public education, and other critical Fire Service activities. He is a member of the Ohio Fire Chief’s Association and other community groups. He has a Master of Public Administration degree from Wright State University and degrees both from Ohio State University and Sinclair Community College. He has also completed the Ohio Fire Executive Program through the Ohio Fire Chief’s Association.

Niedhard is no stranger to the Bellbrook fire department. Throughout the years, Washington Township worked side by side with the Bellbrook Fire Department to assist in many emergency events. He has gotten to know the staff of the Bellbrook Fire Department and their practices. He is also no stranger to the Bellbrook community. Growing up shopping in the community and attending the many festivals and community events, Bellbrook is a part of him and he is excited to step up in the community and be an exceptional leader.

“Bellbrook has a reputation for performing exceptional firefighting and EMS work,” said Niedhard. “I know these people and that was the determining factor of how I chose Bellbrook. Chief Hall has done a great job getting that department where it is at now. My job will be to take over where it’s at and to enhance it, if need be.”

Niedhard will be starting his new position on Monday morning with a fresh set of eyes and will spend the next days, weeks and months learning his position and gathering information and ideas from his new staff and volunteers.

“My question to the firefighters [on Monday] will be: If you were in my shoes, what would be the one thing that you could suggest to me to make the greatest improvement in the department?” said Niedhard. “I am going to have to rely on them.”

Neidhard is looking forward to getting to know his new staff and the people of the community. He strives to maintain the integrity of the community and keep us all safe and sound.

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