FORT SMITH -- Acting Chief Boyd Waters has been appointed by the city as the new chief of the Fire Department.
Waters served as interim chief since the passing of Chief Phil Christensen in February, following a nine-month battle with cancer. His appointment as chief took effect Monday.
"This appointment carries with it mixed emotions for me," Waters said in a news release from the city. "I am honored that the City Administrator and Board of Directors have the faith in me to continue Phil's legacy. He left big shoes to fill and I will share in the same commitment and dedication he had to lead this department and serve the residents of Fort Smith."
City Administrator Carl Geffken noted Waters was promoted to assistant chief the same day Christensen was promoted to fire chief in 2016.
"He supported Phil in all aspects of the job and kept the department running on all cylinders through a very difficult time," Geffken said. "Boyd's experience, character and dedication to the FSFD made him a clear choice for the role. I am pleased to see him move into this leadership position with our city."
Waters started in the department as a firefighter in February 2000. In February 2004, he was promoted to driver, followed by a promotion to captain in February 2011. Waters was promoted to battalion chief/shift commander in September 2013 and assistant chief in August 2016. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Southern Arkansas University Tech and holds an associate of applied science in fire and emergency response.
The release noted Waters' achievements include the 2012 Achievement Medal for Apparatus Specifications, 2011 Achievement Medal for SCBA Technician, 2011 Certificate of Appreciation for the Firefighter Indoctrination Program, 2009 Medal of Valor for Rescuing a Victim in a Fire, 2009 Noon Exchange Club Firefighter of the Year, 2004 Jaycees Luther Bevel Outstanding Young Firefighter of the Year and Arkansas Fire Academy 2000 Spring Class Outstanding Academic Achievement Award.
Waters' office will be downtown at Fire Station No. 1 at 200 N. Fifth St.
City directors earlier this month unanimously approved renaming Fire Station No. 1 the Phillip P. Christensen Fire Station 1 in honor of the former chief.
Waters said in a memo to Geffken that Fire Station No. 1 is the city facility most associated with Christensen during his career with the department. He said the suggested name is to be published in a newspaper for at least four weeks for residents' comments to be received. After all public comments are reviewed, and after the four-week public notice period, a second resolution would be considered to formally name the station.