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Dec. 3, 2020

City names Bell interim fire chief; Stables set to resign Jan. 1

City Manager Pete Peterson announced Thursday that Fire Chief James Stables will resign Jan. 1, and that Johnson City Administrative District Chief David Bell will assume the role of interim fire chief effective Friday, Dec. 4.

 “During his tenure, Chief Stables has led tremendous improvements to the Johnson City Fire Department,” said City Manager Pete Peterson. “Through educational opportunities, increased training, and restructuring, he brought stability and direction to the department that will serve us well for years to come. We are grateful for his service and wish him much success.”

“The Johnson City community should be very proud of their various city services, and I want to specifically commend the many men and women who rush toward danger in the police and fire departments. We are truly blessed to have selfless servant leaders in every area of the city,” Stables said. “I’ve been presented an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up, one that will further my career and serve my family well. But Johnson City will remain an important part of our lives.”

Bell, a 23-year veteran of the JCFD, has served in his current role 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.

“I look forward to continuing the good work the men and women of the Johnson City Fire Department have conducted under the leadership of Chief Stables,” Bell said. “This first and foremost includes obtaining accreditation, which will make us the only department in the state of Tennessee to hold an ISO 1 rating and accredited status.”

In addition to pursuing accreditation, the JCFD satisfied significant capital equipment needs and developed a strong partnership with Washington County EMS with Stables at the helm. Just last year, the department won the Tennessee Municipal League’s Excellence in Fire Services Award.

“Chief Stables leaves a great legacy here and that includes a staff that is highly trained, equipped and capable. District Chief Bell is a testament to that, and he will do a tremendous job leading the department through this transition,” Peterson said.

The City will advertise the vacancy within the next couple weeks and aims to have a permanent chief named by March.