ASHLAND -- The Ashland County Fire Department is now staffed in a way that it can better be ready for its soon-to-be-constructed second station.
On Thursday morning, Tyler Smith promoted to the rank of "EMS captain" this morning in a ceremony led by Mayor Matt Miller and Fire Chief Rick Anderson.
Earlier this year, Ashland City Council approved the fire department to function with one more captain at an additional cost of up to $7,500. The decision allows the department to have seven captains and allows time to prepare an individual to lead the new fire station at the intersection of U.S. 42 and Mifflin Avenue, Mayor Matt Miller said in May.
The position was “reclassified,” meaning the decision did not allow hiring a new employee. In adding new captain, one less firefighter is permitted at the department.
As of Thursday, Smith will replace former EMS Captain Ben Burrer, who becomes the department's newest captain in the fire prevention bureau. Burrer joins Captain Mark Miller, who had previously oversaw the fire prevention bureau alone. Burrer will now handle fire inspections, while Miller handles new construction.
"It splits up the responsibilities there," Anderson said.
To become the newest captain, Smith scored the highest on a test associated with the promotion.
"He is a good, solid paramedic. He'll do well in this role," Anderson said.
Smith has been with the Ashland Fire Department for more than a decade.
Most recent predictions from the city of Ashland show the construction of a second fire station could break ground at the intersection of U.S. 42 and Mifflin Avenue in fall 2020.
In early June, council allowed Mayor Miller to enter a contract with Simonson Construction Services for pre-construction stage design-build services for the proposed fire station at a cost of $150,950.
"A second station has been long overdue," Anderson said. "It will cut down response time immensely to the south and west side of town, and Milton and Montgomery Townships that we also cover."