WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – It’s about to be a busy year for the Wheeling Fire Department.
7News reported recently about their plans for a new headquarters, but they have plenty of other promotions and projects in the works.
Leading the way will be a new chief.
After being named to the position Chief Jim Blazier jumped right in and is learning his new role fast. He’s stranger to the department. Chief Blazier has been with the Wheeling Fire Department for 32 years and said the chief role is something he’s aspired to for many years. Now he said he knows he has some big shoes to fill.
I have some family lineage, not only to the fire department here in the City of Wheeling as well as I took an interest in the fire service at a young age. I was a firefighter in a neighboring community.Chief Jim Blazier, Wheeling Fire Department
January 1989 is when Blazier began working his way through the ranks of the Wheeling Fire Department. As a paramedic, fire engineer, lieutenant, captain for about 10 years and then assistant chief for the past 12 years. In his most recent role, Blazier worked in an administrative capacity focusing on training.
The leadership role actually you develop coming up through the ranks. As we progress through the ranks increasing amounts of responsibility are added to your job.Chief Jim Blazier, Wheeling Fire Department
He’s taken on the leadership role quickly, already learning from Chief Larry Helms, who will retire in July.
I told him I said ‘you know decisions that we make together are going to affect you down the road here, so I’m gonna give you advice, but it’s gonna ultimately be your decision’. He’s pretty much gonna take care of everything from here on out. If I can give him some worthwhile advice I will.Chief Larry Helms, Wheeling Fire Department
Chief Blazier’s first year on the job is proving that it will be a busy one.
Plans for a new department headquarters are moving forward and he tells 7News they also want to make repairs at existing stations. Blazier said his goal is to see these improvements through to completion.
Plus, it’s a young department, so it’ll be his job to continue the work of Chief Helms to lead them forward.
Training aspects will be very important to bring all of our young personnel, mold them into being good firefighters. There’s going to be a lot of promotions. Not only myself moving up, but there’s going to be a lot of people changing positions.Chief Jim Blazier, Wheeling Fire Department
After working under the three previous chiefs, Blazier said he wants to continue their example to keep the fire department running smoothly.
You’re getting a wonderful guy. He’ll do a great job and uh I’m very proud of him.”)Chief Larry Helms, Wheeling Fire Department
Chief Blazier and his wife are life-long residents of Wheeling. They have three children, and just recently welcomed their first grandchild to the family.
Officially he takes over as chief on July 1st.