New Boardman fire chief ready for challenges

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — A new fire chief will take over in Boardman at the end of the month, but Monday was Mark Pitzer’s first day as interim fire chief.

Pitzer said this is an exciting time for the fire department, but there will be a lot of growing pains along the way.

“This is a very exciting experience. First day jitters a bit,” Pitzer said.

He will be officially sworn in as chief at the end of the month. Current Chief George Brown announced recently that he would retire at the end of July, ending a long career in firefighting, including a stint as Howland’s fire chief.

Pitzer met with Brown Monday morning.

“We want to continue to grow here in Boardman. We have a lot of growth going on commercially,” Pitzer said.

The growth is a good thing for the township, but a potential obstacle for the fire department. The congestion on U.S. Route 224 sometimes makes getting to emergencies a challenge.

For the first time, Pitzer will be working with the union representing the department’s 38 firefighters, as a manager.

“We are in contract negotiations with the union. I am going to be thrown to the wolves with that,” he said.

In the short term, Pitzer said he is going to do whatever it takes to further strengthen working relationships with neighboring fire departments.

He also said the fire department will stay true to its word and not ask for any additional money from taxpayers for at least another two years.

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