Arledge new chief of Columbus Fire Dept.

Published 1:18 pm Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bobby Arledge, a long-time officer in the Columbus Fire Department and its only paid firefighter, was elected fire chief Monday night.

Arledge, now the deputy chief, will replace the retiring Geoff Tennant as chief Jan. 1. He will spend the next six months training to take over the position.

Everybody sort of said (I would be elected), said Arledge. So, I guess I felt good about it.

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Tennant has served as the departments fire chief for the past 28 years. He will serve the remainder of this year as chief and said he plans to move into an unspecified role within the department after his retirement begins (see article above).

Arledge joined the department in 1994 as a volunteer and was hired as its lone professional firefighter five years ago. He has served as a lieutenant, captain, assistant chief and in his current position as deputy chief.

He said becoming chief of the department has been something he has striven for over the course of his career.

You always set a high goal, so I guess you could say that its something Ive wanted to do, said Arledge.

Tennant said the voters absolutely made the right decision in choosing his successor.

As for the future, Arledge said he does not envision any immediate changes after he officially takes the reins.

I really dont plan on doing anything different, he said. Chief (Tennant) has been doing this for years and years and we have a good program going, so I want to keep that flowing right along.

Arledge said the department does have needs to address, such as a new substation on property the department already owns on Peniel Road as well as a possible expansion to the departments main station in Columbus.

Hopefully, we can get a grant or something for that substation, Arledge said. The people down on that end of the district are pushing the five-mile coverage area, so were trying to get the substation down that way to make sure everybodys covered.