Politics & Government

Sedgwick County picks new fire chief; points toward merger with Wichita Fire Department

Raw video: Fires in southwest Sedgwick County on Tuesday

(FILE VIDEO -- MARCH 6, 2018) Firefighters were able to contain this quick-moving grass fire in the southern portion of Sedgwick County.
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(FILE VIDEO -- MARCH 6, 2018) Firefighters were able to contain this quick-moving grass fire in the southern portion of Sedgwick County.

In a move that could help clear the way for eventual consolidation of the Wichita and Sedgwick County fire departments, veteran fireman Doug Williams has been selected as the new chief of County Fire District No. 1, county officials said Friday.

Williams, the division chief of operations for the fire district, had been serving as interim fire chief since the Dec. 21 retirement of Chief Tavis Leake.

“He (Williams) has the backing of the fire men and women and that’s what’s critical right now,” said County Commission Chairman David Dennis. A recent survey of firefighters’ attitudes about their jobs showed “morale is amazing right now,” Dennis said.

He said Williams also gets along well with Wichita city officials, including Fire Chief Tammy Snow and would be a good leader of department consolidation.

“We’ve been informally talking consolidation for the last year or so,” said Dennis. “We need to get that more than informal.”

Williams has more than 30 years experience as a firefighter and manager. His resume includes stints as the chief of the volunteer fire department in the town of Eureka.

Williams is a graduate of the National Fire Academy. He holds Executive Fire Officer and Chief Fire Officer certification.

The Sedgwick County Fire District provides emergency fire and medical response in the unincorporated areas of the county, along with the cities of Bel Aire, Park City, Goddard, and Haysville.

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