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March 30, 2022

Interim no more: Bell named JCFD Chief

City Manager Cathy Ball announced Wednesday that Interim Fire Chief David Bell has been named to the post permanently.

“As a 24-year veteran of the Johnson City Fire Department, Chief Bell has demonstrated strong leadership that has most recently resulted in the department’s first ever national accreditation,” Ball said. “His history and experience with the department, coupled with an exciting vision for its future, make him the ideal candidate for this position.”

Bell was named interim fire chief in December 2020 following the departure of former Fire Chief James Stables. Prior to that appointment, Bell served as administrative district chief for more than two years, overseeing budget, training and grants for the department. He holds a master’s degree in safety, security and emergency management from Eastern Kentucky University and is the first member of the department ever to obtain the fire officer designation from the Commission of Professional Credentialing.

In 2021, Bell completed the Executive Fire Officer Program from the National Fire Academy, which is considered the premier fire rescue leadership training institution in the United States. The nationally recognized program is designed to provide senior fire officers with a broad perspective on a variety of topics and challenges related to fire administration. In addition to the coursework, completed over a four-year period, all participants are required to complete multiple applied research projects to demonstrate application of course theory and concepts to real life situations.

“I feel very fortunate to be in this position,” said Bell. “There were a number of very qualified candidates, and I’m excited and eager to continue working alongside some of those individuals moving forward.”

Earlier this month, the Johnson City Fire Department received Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) for meeting the criteria established through the CFAI’s voluntary self-assessment and accreditation program. JCFD is only the sixth department in Tennessee to receive Accredited Agency status and just one of three to do so and also maintain an ISO rating of 1. Bell was heavily involved in the accreditation process, which began in 2017.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the men and women who make up the Johnson City Fire Department,” said Bell. “The fire service is a team effort and they truly care about this community. I am excited to continue the great work of our department and to provide the highest level of service to the citizens of Johnson City.”