April 07, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

Fire Chief Barry Rowell to Retire

Springfield Fire Chief Barry Rowell has submitted his intention to retire, effective in June, after working for the City for nearly 25 years, including serving as Chief since June 2007.

Chief Rowell has served the department as a Firefighter, Rescue and Salvage Specialist, Captain, Battalion Chief, and he has held Assistant Chief responsibilities for both technical services and operations.

During his tenure as Fire Chief, the Springfield Fire Department achieved accreditation by the Center for Public Safety Excellence in 2008, which was the culmination of a six-year process that Rowell supervised prior to being named Fire Chief. Springfield is the only metropolitan department in Missouri to hold the accreditation and one of only 123 of some 30,000 departments across the nation to receive this accreditation.

The Springfield Fire Department also received a satisfaction rate of 86 percent on the 2008 Citizens Survey, which was the highest level cited for any City service. In 2008, Fire Department employees documented 18 instances where they were able to save lives during 14 medical emergencies, three fires and one water rescue.

“I am proud and stand in awe at the dedication of the men and women of this department who continue to give whatever it takes to keep this community safe,” Rowell said.

Rowell also coordinated the Fire Department’s response to the January 2007 ice storm, during which no lives were lost in Springfield related to the natural disaster emergency response. He served the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a community-relations representatives by helping relocate Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005.

City Manager Greg Burris said he will make an exception to the ongoing City General Fund hiring freeze to fill the Chief’s position before his retirement is effective by leaving open another administrative position in the Department.

“It didn’t take long for me to develop a deep respect for Chief Rowell,” Burris said. “He’s a solid, well-trained leader possessing a quiet confidence. Barry is respected by the Fire Department staff, City administrators, and the community. I congratulate the Chief on his professional successes, but am sorry to see him leave. He will be missed.”

Note to Media: Chief Rowell does not intend to give any media interviews related to this news release and will be out of the office on business on Wednesday, April 8. For more information, view Rowell's resignation letter and additional biographical information is available on the City Web site at: www.springfieldmo.gov/egov/mgmt_team.html.

The timing of this news release is related to the fact that Chief Rowell’s retirement papers will become public at a Police/Fire Pension Board regular open meeting on Thursday, April 9. The information is being released today so that it is clear that his retirement announcement is not related to the outcome of today’s City Council elections.

city of springfield fire

Springfield Fire Department

830 Boonville Ave., P.O. Box 8368, Springfield, MO 65801
417-864-1500 • FAX: 417-864-1505 • springfieldmo.gov/fire