Thursday, April 8, 2004

Hebron hires Erlanger fire chief

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ERLANGER - Hebron has tapped a veteran Northern Kentucky firefighter to lead its fast-growing fire district.

Bill Martin, 53, was hired as chief of the Hebron Fire Protection District in Boone County during a Tuesday night meeting of the district's board. He comes from Erlanger, where he was chief 12 years.

"People keep asking me what I'll miss most about Erlanger," Martin said. "I tell them it will be the people of Erlanger. A firetruck is a firetruck. And a fire is a fire, but people are unique."

Martin comes to Hebron with 33 years in the fire service, serving in both volunteer and career positions. He joined the Erlanger Fire Department in 1971 as a volunteer and became paid in 1979 as a fire inspector. He went on to serve as a Kentucky state fire marshal and chief of the Point Pleasant Fire Department before returning to Erlanger as chief in 1992.

Martin left a staff of 15 full-time employees, 30 part-timers and 90 volunteers to join a department of 32 full-time employees and 14 volunteers. The Hebron fire district covers 42 square miles of farmland, subdivisions, commercial areas and industrial parks.

He replaces Dale Harshbarger, who resigned from the department in December citing health reasons and job stress. He had been on a leave of absence for a month.

"I was intrigued by all the growth in the area," Martin said. "It will present some challenges, but I think change is good. Fire services are generally traditionalists, but I like change."

Martin and his wife live in Erlanger and have two grown children. His son is a full-time firefighter at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, and his daughter is an emergency medical technician with TransCare, a nonprofit ambulance and paramedic service.


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