New Ocean City Fire Chief Officially Kicks off First Year

OCEAN CITY — After being officially sworn in earlier this month, Ocean City’s new fire chief Richard Bowers reported for his first day of duty this week.

Bowers, who has more than 40 years of experience at every rank and level, officially reported for duty on Monday. He was hired to replace former Chief Chris Larmore, who retired at the end of March after 11 years as chief. Bowers is now only the second chief of Ocean City’s combined career and volunteer departments, which merged over a decade ago.

“Being only the second career fire chief to ever serve the combined department is not only a great honor, but also a great responsibility,” Bowers said this week. “I look forward to engaging this community, building relationships with our residents and visitors and continuing to make the Ocean City Fire Department the very best it can be.”

Bowers had been a member of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service for 34 years, serving in every career rank from firefighter/EMT to ultimately fire chief. Bowers also served on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue Maryland Task Force I team since its inception and has been on several deployments in that role including the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9-11 Pentagon terrorist attack.

He was also the Montgomery County Operational Task Force leader during its deployment to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, Bowers served as fire chief in Fairfax County, Va., a position he held for five years before resigning in February.

Along with multiple certifications, Bowers holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Service Management, as well as a Master’s Degree in Human Resources and a Fire Protection Certificate. City Manager Doug Miller said the town received over 70 applications for the vacant fire chief position and interviewed six external candidates and four internal candidates before deciding on Bowers.

“Chief Bowers brings four decades of community service and public safety leadership to Ocean City,” said Miller this week.  “Along with his strong drive and diverse management experience, it is his positive energy and enthusiastic attitude to the fire service that makes him a great fit for Ocean City.”

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.