WHEELING, W.VA. – City Manager Robert Herron has announced that James Blazier, a 32-year veteran of the Wheeling Fire Department, has been selected as the next fire chief upon the retirement of current chief, Larry Helms, effective July 1.

“James’ education and professional experience is a great fit for the Chief’s role. I believe he will continue the tradition of excellence in fire, rescue and EMS that the residents of Wheeling have grown accustomed while advancing the department,” said Herron.

A life-long resident of Wheeling, Blazier is looking forward to his new role.

“I am both honored and humbled for the opportunity to serve as chief of the Wheeling Fire Department. Having served under the previous three chiefs, I have large shoes to fill.  Top priority will be to continue the legacy of service provided to our citizens and visitors to Wheeling,” said Blazier.

A graduate of Central Catholic High School, Blazier began his career with the Wheeling Fire Department in January 1989. He worked his way through the ranks as fire engineer, lieutenant, captain and assistant chief. In his most recent role, Blazier has served the past 12 years in an administrative capacity as training officer, EMS squad training officer and supply manager for EMS and firefighting equipment. Blazier is also a public safety instructor for Mountain State Education Services and is a registered nurse at MedExpress.

Blazier holds an associate degree in manufacturing engineering from Belmont Technical College and earned an associate degree in registered nursing from West Virginia Northern Community College. Blazier obtained a West Virginia adult education certificate; is a West Virginia/nationally certified paramedic and a CPR/AED first aid instructor; is a hazardous material technician level certified; and received several certifications upon the completion of numerous fire training courses through WVU Fire Service Extension, West Virginia Public Service Training and the National Fire Academy.

When he’s not working, Blazier enjoys spending time with family, automotive repair and classic cars, home repair projects and outdoor activities.