New OC Fire Chief Expected By Summer

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City Fire Chief Chris Larmore is officially retiring on Friday after nearly three decades and Tuesday’s meeting was the last in a long series of meetings the chief rarely missed.

“Some are a little quieter than others about how they end their careers in Ocean City, but nonetheless they should be recognized,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “One of them is Chief Larmore. As you know, the chief is retiring and this is his last week. This is his last meeting before the Mayor and Council.”

Larmore was hired as fire chief in 2008 during a turbulent time when the town of Ocean City combined its career paid division and its volunteer division and had led the department for over a decade. Serving as the merged department’s first chief, Larmore oversaw the various divisions including the career division, the volunteer division and the fire marshal’s office.

He was a member of the department for nearly three decades. Meehan on Tuesday praised Larmore for his role in navigating the merger during what were often challenging times.

“I want to thank Chief Larmore for being the chief to help merge our volunteer company with our career firefighters and paramedics,” he said. “That was a difficult job during difficult times and he did a great job of doing that.”

Meanwhile, the search is on for Larmore’s replacement. Since the chief announced his retirement, the position has been advertised in several fire and EMS trade publications. City Manager Doug Miller said this week the recruitment efforts are being handled internally instead of hiring a human resources, or headhunter, firm to assist in the process.

Miller said as of this week, the town has received about 50 responses, although it is unclear if the potential candidates are from outside the area or in-house. In the next few weeks, the list of potential candidates will be winnowed down to a list of interviewees and interviews will likely begin in early May.

Miller said the Ocean City Volunteer Fire will have two representatives in the process that will review the applications with Miller and develop a short list of interviewees. Miller said he anticipates robust competition for the position.

“Ocean City is an excellent opportunity, both professionally and personally, for those who have the ambition to be a fire chief,” he said. “I’m confident that we will attract a group of very fine candidates.”

The recruitment and hiring process is expected to be wrapped up before the start of the summer season. In the meantime, Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley will serve as interim chief.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.