Fairfax County appoints fire chief

February 12, 2013

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors appointed Richard R. Bowers Jr. as the county’s new fire chief on Tuesday.

Bowers has been Montgomery County’s fire chief since 2008 and served as a firefighter there for more than 35 years, holding every rank in the department, according to a news release. Bowers said he was excited about the new job in Fairfax.

“It’s a unique opportunity at a time where there’s always opportunities to grow as a fire and EMS service,” he said. “I look to this as a great, challenging opportunity to work with some of the finest men and women in the area.”

Bowers, whose salary will be $187,000, will start in his new post April 29. He replaces Chief Ronald L. Mastin, whose official retirement date is May 7.

“Chief Mastin has done a magnificent job in his role as chief, and it’s a very, very fine department that I am inheriting and he is turning over,” Bowers said.

Bowers was selected from three finalists among 40 applicants, Fairfax County Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland said at a meeting in which Bowers’s appointment was unanimously approved.

Fairfax County’s fire department has nearly 1,400 uniformed men and women, and 37 fire and rescue stations, according to the department’s Web site.

Bowers, a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College, holds a master’s degree certification in human resource management, a bachelor of fire science degree and a public fire-protection management and administration education certificate, according to the Fairfax County news release. He also is chairman of the Fire Chiefs Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ National Capital Region.

Bowers was a Pentagon 9/11 operational response task force member and a member of a FEMA Oklahoma City bombing disaster response team. He was named Montgomery County’s Firefighter of the Year in 1985.

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