Longtime Colerain Township Fire Chief Bruce Smith is retiring. (FOX19 NOW/Provided by the township's website)
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) -
The longtime fire chief of this western Hamilton County community is retiring after nearly 45 years with the department.
Bruce Smith's retirement officially begins in June, but the transition starts Thursday when Assistant Chief Frank Cook takes over.
Smith took over the reigns of the department in 1987 from former Chief Corky Snyder.
Township leaders credit him with tirelessly working to position the department as a regional emergency services leader.
He started paramedic services in 1989 and expanded the roster to almost 200 certified firefighter/EMT's and paramedics. He also opened a new fire station that serves the northeast portion of the township.
Smith also was active in the political process on issues impacting the safety and health of firefighters.
His "vision has taken the department to heights never thought possible...and he has done this while fostering and maintaining a "family feel" within the ranks of the membership," wrote agency spokesman Capt. Steve Conn in a prepared statement.
Smith also led the department in tumultuous times in April 2008, when Fire Captain Robin Broxterman and Firefighter Brian Schira died in a house fire. He spearheaded an investigative report that led to reforms.
"Our emergency operations are more efficient and safer as a result of Chief Smith's leadership," Conn wrote. "We want to thank Chief Smith for his tireless support of our firefighters and residents. His leadership and legacy have set the bar pretty high. Our department is a much better place for him having been at the helm and we will miss him in this position."