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Former city firefighter is now Flint's new fire chief

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has its first full-time fire chief in eight years.

David Cox says he’s ready for the challenge.

“ I want to go in and take a look at what we have and if we have to make any changes…we’ll tweak it,” says Cox, “But they are doing a pretty good job over there I think.”

Cox takes over a fire department that has been dealing with deep budget cuts and an explosion of arson fires in recent years.  

Another big challenge for Flint’s new fire chief is the looming loss of federal grant funding.   The “Safer Grant” has been paying for 39 of Flint’s 94 city firefighters.   But that grant expires next year. 

“We’re set aside some of the public safety millage to replace that when it’s gone so that we can try to maintain a stable fire fighting force,” says Ed Kurtz, Flint’s emergency manager, “But there are budget issues we’re going to have to deal with going forward.”

Trent Farnsworth is the president of Flint’s firefighters union.  He says the new fire chief will also have to address the need for training and other staff issues.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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