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York City's newest fire chief should be a familiar face to most city residents.

After about 24 years with the department, Chad Deardorff took over as chief on Thursday, Feb. 28.

It's a role to which Deardorff has always aspired.

“I’m very excited about it — it’s a great opportunity,” the new chief said.

Deardorff, 45, was appointed chief after the York City Council approved him on Feb. 19. The previous chief, David Michaels, retired on Feb. 1. Deardorff has been acting chief since Michaels' retirement.

A lifelong York County resident, Deardorff has been with the department since 1995. He previously held the position of deputy fire chief.

Mayor Michael Helfrich's administration and Michaels recommended Deardorff for the position. 

When Michaels retired, the then-chief said he was proud of how much the department had grown since he took over in 2012.

Over the past few years, the two had worked together with the idea that Deardorff would take the chief position once Michaels retired. Deardorff said he and Michaels had focused on improving three things: beefing up personnel, apparatus and building maintenance.

With the department's firefighter numbers at its highest in years, Deardorff said he is going to focus on getting new vehicles for the department and also is looking at repairing the four stations.

More: 'An honor': York City fire chief retires after 28 years with the department

More: York City Fire Chief David Michaels retiring

Goals: The fire vehicles have a lifespan of about 20 years, according to the chief, who said three vehicles are "well past" 20 years.

Deardorff said he is looking to replace an aerial truck and two fire engines. 

Typically fire engines go for about $400,000 to $650,000, and aerial trucks can cost between $1.3 million and $1.5 million.

The chief said he intends to stagger these eventual purchases, so in 20 years all three of them don't have to be replaced at the same time.

‘We need to just focus on getting into some type of program and replacement schedule," he said.

His goal is to not use any bonds or loans for the purchases, so the department isn't paying interest on the vehicles. The chief said he is going to look at grants to help pay for the vehicles.

Deardorff said he's also hoping to repair the four fire stations. The newest fire station, he said, was built in the 1970s.

“There’s a lot of things we’re looking at for the buildings," he said. 

But the chief said he's not going to do everything at once. These things are going to be done over the next few years.

"Obviously, I'm going to prioritize things," he said.

Deardorff: York City's new fire chief currently lives in West Manchester Township with his wife, 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter. 

Deardorff said he was given a year to move to York City so he can meet the residency requirement for being fire chief.

Before becoming deputy chief four years ago, he served as an assistant chief for about eight months. He was a fire captain for more than six years before that.

Prior to joining York City in 1995, he volunteered with North York and Springettsbury Township fire services. He is a Central York High School graduate and went on to graduate from Columbia Southern University. 

The new chief said he hopes that once it's time for him to pass the torch, he will have left the department in better shape than when he started.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.

 

 

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