Interim fire chief in place in Mississippi city

A veteran firefighter has been sworn in as interim fire chief for the City of Natchez.

David Freeman, a 38-year veteran of the department, replaces Natchez Fire Chief Ventris Green, who officially retired Tuesday.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said Freeman was sworn in Monday over the telephone as Freeman and others gathered in a conference room at City Hall. Gibson is working from home amid a 14-day quarantine after being exposed recently to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19, The Natchez Democrat reported.

Gibson said he and others interviewed candidates last week and chose Freeman to be the interim chief until a permanent chief can be hired.

“Chief Freeman came highly recommended by Chief Green,” Gibson said. “We actually interviewed two individuals. Chief Freeman has been with that force, I believe, 38 years. He has served at so many levels and he had just an excellent resume. Plus, he expresses such overwhelming support for the direction the fire department is taking for working with the community, continuing the upgrades that have been going on so we considered him to be an excellent choice for the interim chief.”

Gibson said, too, that Freeman is at a stage in his career where he is not interested in being the next full-time fire chief.

“We felt this would allow him the opportunity to provide leadership in the department while we search for the full-time chief that will succeed Chief Green,” Gibson said.

Freeman, 65, said he is excited at the opportunity to lead the department _ even if only temporarily.

“I would like to at least see this end of it,” Freeman said. “I have been a field employee for most of the entire time. I made battalion chief about three years ago.”

Freeman also said he recently retired from AMR ambulance service after more than 24 years with that company.

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