Joplin names new fire chief

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  • Nick Edwards
    Rugby union player (1984-)

Dec. 27—Gerald Ezell, who has more than three decades of firefighting experience, was named Joplin's new fire chief on Monday.

"Gerald brings much experience to this position and will be an excellent addition to the city's management team," Nick Edwards, Joplin's city manager, said in a statement. "As the city progresses with building Station 7 and addressing numerous action plans involving the fire department, I am confident that he will serve the community well and lead the department with the intention of efficiency and cohesiveness."

Ezell retired as a battalion chief from the Joplin Fire Department in 2010 after approximately 20 years in this community. During his tenure here, he also served as a volunteer firefighter for the Diamond Area Fire Protection District.

After his retirement from Joplin, he worked four years as the Diamond fire chief and then moved to Maumelle, Arkansas, where he currently serves as the fire chief and emergency management coordinator.

Ezell is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy and has trained in safety and high-danger emergency response through the National Incident Management Systems of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He holds a bachelor's degree in management and an associate degree in fire science.

"I am thrilled to be able to come back and continue my service to the citizens of Joplin and continue the rich tradition that the Joplin Fire Department has in providing top-notch customer service," Ezell said in a statement. "Joplin is home, and it is wonderful to bring my family back. I look forward to meeting with the tremendous employees of the fire department as well as the other city departments, and getting to work for the citizens."

Ezell will begin in his new role on Feb. 7. He succeeds Jim Furgerson, who retired in June. The fire department has been led in the interim by Mark Cannon, the department's fire training chief.

The city's seventh fire station is to be built in southeast Joplin near the Crossroads Business and Distribution Park in the area of 32nd Street and Prigmore Avenue. The design process is underway. The project is funded by the half-cent public safety sales tax enacted by voters in 2006.

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