Pinebluff makes major changes to fire department

The Town of Pinebluff held a special meeting Wednesday to deal with several issues with its fire department.

Pinebluff has been searching for a new fire chief since Fire Chief John McKiver died in May. McKiver made history as Moore County’s first African American fire chief.

Days before he died, he received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. The governor gives this award to North Carolinians with a proven record of exemplary service. Speaking at the time, Pinebluff Mayor Rachel Byrd stated “it’s going to be hard to replace him. I don’t know that we will be able to really replace him, but we will get someone that we hope will be as much a part of Pinebluff as he was.”

Obituary John Arthur McKiver Sr. of Aberdeen

The late Pinebluff Fire Chief John McKiver. Courtesy photo.

After a long search, Jonathan Richardson was selected as the new fire chief. Richardson currently works for the Spring Lake Fire Department and will be starting his new duties shortly.

Speaking to the Sandhills Sentinel after the meeting, Richardson said, “Words are just words; I intend to show you what I can do by my actions.” In addition to his extensive experience, Richardson is also a qualified fire instructor, greatly aiding Pinebluff’s ability to train and certify firefighters.

Richardson’s contract calls for him to be paid $60,000 yearly.

The vote to hire Richardson had one dissenting vote. Commissioner Jerry Wills noted that they had two highly qualified candidates. One of the candidates had some accusations made against him that turned out to be unfounded. His vote was not against Richardson but against the process that resulted in his hiring.

In other business, the board hired several new part-time firefighters including James Austin, Joseph Kennerly, Kendrick Rose-Gillespie, and Matthew Black. According to Pinebluff Fire Director Guy McGraw, all these men are turnkey and are ready to go.

Pinebluff’s next scheduled meeting is Oct. 21 and will be held at the Pinebluff Town Hall located at 325 Baltimore Avenue.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Article and feature photo of Pinebluff’s new Fire Chief Jonathan Richardson (standing in picture) by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Chris Prentice.

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