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Fire chief's certification in question

Updated: Tuesday, September 3 2013, 05:17 PM EDT

By: Jennifer Black and NEWS9


Officials and residents said they are concerned after learning a local fire chief may be performing duties without the necessary state certification.

In the state of Ohio, certification must be renewed every three years. However, the State Department of Public Safety confirmed to NEWS9 that Wellsville Fire Chief Bill Smith's certification was up in January 2009.

Smith was appointed by the village mayor, and the mayor confirmed that Smith's certification is expired. But the mayor said Smith is currently not the acting chief.

That news came as a surprise to Smith, who told NEWS9 on Tuesday that he has still been fulfilling his duties as chief.

Some people in the community said they are concerned, and NEWS9 received several statements from people who did not want to be identified.

One statement read, "It's very important that the people of our village know and understand they have great fire protection 24-7. Council has let a chief of this department run and manage our firemen as well as performing inspections on homes and commercial buildings with a certification that has been expired since 2009."

Another individual said, "As taxpayers, we pay for fire service and they need to know our chief has been expired."

The community members said their concerns stem beyond the actual certification title and said they believe the inspections that Smith signed off on over the last several years are not valid.

NEWS9 reached out to the Ohio Department of Public Safety for additional requirements for firefighter certification. At this point, if Smith is allowed to re-certify, he would have to go through several hours of training and testing.

The mayor said village officials are actively working with the state to get re-certified.

Stay with NEWS9 and for continuing coverage.

Fire chief's certification in question

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