Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 14, 2012

New Bluefield Fire chief selected; Station reopens on Cumberland

By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — A new fire chief, a reopened fire substation, and progress on demolishing a downtown structure were among the updates presented Tuesday to the Bluefield Board of Directors.

Following the board’s noon meeting, City Manager Jim Ferguson announced that a new chief for the Bluefield Fire Department had been selected.

“He is a firefighter who is already employed with us, Capt. Jeffrey Warden,” Ferguson said. “He is a captain now, and he is going to be our new fire chief in a couple of weeks.”

Warden, who was not available Tuesday for comment, joined the department as a firefighter in 1993. He then advanced through the ranks to engineer, lieutenant, and then captain, Ferguson said.

“We had numerous applications come in for me to select from, and I felt he was the top candidate based on his qualifications, his knowledge and his experience in the job,” he said.

The interim chief, Glen Sutphin, will be a captain at the department, Ferguson said.

Warden will be leading a fire department that now has a substation on Cumberland Road that reopened recently. The substation had been closed due to staffing issues, but those were resolved and now the station is operational, Ferguson said. Overall, the city fire department now has enough firefighters.

“We’re adequately staffed,” he said. “We have 19 firefighters plus the acting chief.”

In other business, work continues on demolishing the Scott Street parking garage in downtown Bluefield, Ferguson told the board of directors.

“Work is progressing, and I think we’re in good shape,” he said. Depending on the weather, much of the work on the new parking area that will replace the garage will be completed by January 2013. Paving cannot be done during cold weather, but it will give the ground time to settle before it is paved over.

The board voted unanimously to pay Swope Construction $211,980 for the Scott Street demolition project.

Other demolition projects are continuing in the city. Ferguson said Bluefield once had more than 400 structures on a demolition list, but now 103 of them remain.

“This is good news, and I’ll be glad when it’s 100 percent,” he said.

Art Riley of the Bluefield Downtown Merchants Association stated that the annual Downtown Bluefield Christmas Parade would take place Dec. 8. People interested in participating can call 304-327-2464 or 276-326-3341.

— Contact Greg Jordan at

gjordan@bdtonline.com