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City welcomes new fire chief

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CHIEF: Tony Johnson places his hand on The Bible that his wife Juli Johnson holds, as he is sworn in as Huntington Fire Department Chief.
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Swearing in: Lt. Duane Naab takes an oath with the help of Alexis Naab, as he is sworn in as the new Huntington Fire DepartmentLieutenant.

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

The Huntington Fire Department has a new leader, and the new Fire Chief appointed a new lieutenant to take his place.

Tony Johnson, who’s been with the department for 26 years, is the new Fire Chief, and Duane Naab is now Fire Lieutenant after 29 years with the department as he was promoted from being a firefighter, Monday morning. Johnson said he’s enjoyed working at the department and that he’s always wanted to be a part of the department.

“It’s been on my mind since I was a kid. I was one of those kids with childhood dreams, and I’ve been on it for about 26 years now,” Johnson said. “So, it’s been nice going up, moving through the ranks, and it’s just been a great place to work.”

Johnson said he’s most excited to begin leading the 35 dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled firefighters who make up the department.

“I’m really excited to be their next leader,” Johnson said. “I’m happy I get this opportunity, and I’m just excited to get started.”

He said the best part of the job is making an impression on people’s lives when they need it the most.

“When people call us they’re having a bad day, so it’s always great if we can make their day better,” he said. “That’s the biggest reward of everything.

Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters welcomed to the City’s “We Serve Huntington Team.”

“You have a great group of men who are here each and everyday not only to put out fires but to act as first responders, going into places that most of us would not consider going into,” Fetters said.

Fetters gave a nod to how the Fire Department improves the City’s quality of life, protecting citizens lives, assets and the city’s economic development. Fetters also thanked the men for their dedication to doing a job that comes with risks, along with their families.

“To families that are here that had been instrumental in getting these men get to this level of leadership: I want to say thank you, and to mom’s and dad’s, job well done,” Fetters said. “Not everyone gets the opportunity to give leadership in these types of roles. To spouses and children and family members, thank you for allowing your loved ones to serve the citizens of Huntington in ways that most of us are not willing to do or trained to do.”