Bethel Twp.’s Jacob King selected as next Springfield fire chief

Incoming fire chief will be affirmed at next week’s city commission meeting.

The Springfield Fire Rescue Division has a new chief after a more than two-month search.

Jacob King, the current Bethel Twp. fire chief and retired Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Department chief, was selected Wednesday, according to a Facebook post from local government consulting firm Management Advisory Group, which was hired to assist in the search. King is a military veteran with 27 years of fire experience.

“I’m humbled and honored to join such an outstanding and dedicated group of public servants at the Springfield Fire Rescue Division. I’m looking forward to serving alongside them, learning more about the organization and becoming a part of the Springfield community,” King said in the release.

King replaces former Chief Brian Miller, who retired in April after 31 years in the department. King’s appointment will be affirmed at the next Springfield City Commission meeting.

The Springfield City Commission held an emergency meeting Wednesday in which members discussed the chief position during an executive session, City Manager Bryan Heck said. Heck indicated then the new chief was expected to be officially announced next week.

Twenty candidates applied for the position, and the applicant pool was narrowed twice for interviews with Heck and other city staff.

“Jacob brings a wealth of leadership and operational experience to this integral role in our community,” Heck said in the release. “He is an excellent fit to our fire division and organization, and we’re confident that his leadership alongside the highly skilled professionals in the organization will enhance our public safety efforts for years to come.”

Springfield Fire and Rescue Division consists of more than 130 sworn personnel members, according to the city’s job posting.

King will oversee a department that responded to 1,639 total calls in May — the highest monthly total of 2023, according to its Facebook page. Of these calls, 1,415 were EMS and 52 were for fires — eight being building fires, five car fires and 39 others. There were 47 false alarms and 125 other calls for assistance.

The salary range for the fire chief position was listed as $118,810 to $151,736, including a high fringe benefit offering and a 24% employer contribution to the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund, according to the job posting.

The Management Advisory group worked with the Springfield City Commission, the city manager’s executive leadership team, a local union and other community leaders to identify the challenges Springfield’s next fire chief may face.

These include recruitment and retention, staff development, labor relations, turnover in the fire marshal and inspection bureau and community relations.

Another challenge interests groups identified to the firm include the construction of four fire stations in the city.

Springfield city officials announced in November plans for four new fire stations to roll out in the coming years, with ground already being broken for the Station #2 project on South Limestone Street.

The City Commission will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the City Hall forum at 76 E. High St.

About the Author