Hamilton Township looking for new fire chief

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Hamilton Township is on the hunt for a new fire chief following the retirement of Chief Ralph Shillingburg.

Shillingburg joined the township fire department as a volunteer firefighter in the late 1970s. He was hired full time in 1978 and named chief 10 years ago when Jerry Lupfer stepped down after 23 years as chief. Shillingburg submitted his retirement resignation in September of this year.

Hamilton Township Fire Department Captain Wade Edwards was named interim chief until a replacement is hired.

“We are grateful Captain Edwards has agreed to serve as interim fire chief through the end of the year as we carefully work through the process of selecting a new fire chief,” said the Hamilton Township trustees in a Dec. 3 press release. “Edwards brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position and we look forward to working with him until a permanent appoint to the fire chief position is made by the board.”

Trustee Mike Craiglow said Shillingburg, “Always put the department first and made sure his men had the training and equipment to fulfill the mission.”

The first round of nine application reviews was on Nov. 24. The first round of six interviews was held Dec. 12.

A final decision is expected to be made at the Dec. 23 trustee meeting with the new chief starting a one-year probationary period between Dec. 28 and Jan. 4. The current salary for the position is $105,000.

Edwards was selected to serve as interim chief because he is the highest-ranking officer. While the township is considering both internal and external candidates, Craiglow said Edwards did not apply for the permanent position.

The department employs 27 career and five part-time firefighters operating out of two stations. It provides emergency response services to a community of 8,260 residents in an area of 13 square miles and averages approximately 5,500 runs a year. The fire chief reports to the trustees.

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