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Joshua Erskine finishes transition to Brunswick fire chief

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BRUNSWICK — After nearly two months of serving as interim chief, 43-year-old Joshua Erskine is taking on the position full time.

Erskine was promoted to the position of assistant chief nine months ago. When former chief Jim Baird retired on Nov. 9, Erskine stepped up to fill the position until someone was hired. On Friday, he was officially sworn in as the full-time chief.

“When Chief Baird realized that he was leaving, he did a good job of kind of bringing me under his wing to say ‘this is what’s important and this is how we need to keep things going,’ ” said Erskine.

“That transition was pretty smooth.”

Originally, he had only planned to fill the position until someone was hired full-time, however, Erskine ended up choosing to apply for the position.

“I had some time to think about it,” said Erskine. “So, initially no, I did not think that it was something that I was going to pursue. But then, as I started to kind of give it more thought, it just seemed like something that I would like to throw my name in the hat for.”

The department was established in 196 as a career fire department — one in which most firefighters are paid — and that is part of what motivated Erskine to apply for the chief position.

“We are still relatively young as a career fire department,” said Erskine. “The opportunity to shape and make an impactful difference for the future, that’s exciting.”

Erskine has gained a lot of experience in his 21 years in the field.

He has moved his way up into different leadership and professional positions.

“I have functioned at every level within the department,” said Erskine. “I’ve been a firefighter paramedic, I’ve been active in the union, I’ve been the president of the union, I’ve been a lieutenant, I’ve been the assistant chief and now I’m the chief.”

Erskine said he is ready to take on the task of being chief.

“I’m up for the challenge,” said Erskine.

“I think I am more than ready.”

He said that he has had a lot of help from fire service leaders in the area and wanted to give special thanks to Pete Berger, Jim Baird, Tim Potts, Rick Barber, Mario D’Amico, Greg Smith, Mel Morgan and all others that have taught and influenced him.

Contact reporter Alyssa Alfano at aalfano@medina-gazette.com.
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