FAIRLAWN: The city has a new fire chief.
Russ Hose, 55, who has been serving as the interim chief since September, was appointed to the job this week by the mayor. City council unanimously confirmed the appointment Monday.
Hose officially takes over as chief on Feb. 6 when he will be sworn in at the next city council meeting.
As a child, Hose recalls the thrill of visiting his father, Lt. Glenn “Bud” Hose, who was an Akron firefighter for 30 years. His dad was stationed near downtown Akron at Station No. 3 on Maple Street.
“It was always a big treat for me to hang out at the station, play on the trucks and run around,” said Hose. “I visited even when I was in high school.”
By the time he graduated from Copley High School and entered the service he knew what he wanted to do with his life.
“Back then you could pick a career in the service so when they had an opening as a firefighter I joined the U.S. Air Force. I graduated in June and entered the service in September. It was a good experience with high-quality training from the ground up.”
He said he worked construction for three years before he could find a job in his field. When he found out Fairlawn was going to start a fire department he applied there. He knew Fire Chief Tim Gemind and was encouraged to take the test. He started training in January 1981 and became an active firefighter in January 1982.
Chief Glenn Goodrich retired in September. Capt. Hose found himself next in line.
Although he served as interim chief and has worked in the department “forever,” Hose said he did not assume he would automatically get the job.
“I know there was some stiff competition. One of the finalists is a good friend of mine and a really good guy to work with,” Hose said. “I know the mayor was very meticulous about the search so I am humbled.”
Hose is the city’s third fire chief. He will earn $91,446.
“He was the best fit for the city,” said Mayor Bill Roth. “He’s a hard worker and has held every position in the department. He worked from the ground up. He was chosen because of his experience and his integrity. He is practical, down to earth, easy to work with and you can tell his heart is in the fire service.”
Roth said there was a pool of 80 applicants. He appointed a screening committee made up of the city council president, a former council president, the city’s labor attorney and an outside consultant. The group narrowed the applicants down to 10 for the interview process and then three.
“We turned over the list to the mayor and Russ was one of the three finalists,” said council president Russell Sharnsky.
“I am 100 percent behind the mayor’s decision and was pleased that the mayor had promoted within the department,” he said. “Russ is an asset to the city. He has proven himself over and over again over the past several months as the interim chief.”
Hose said he felt relief when told he got the job.
“It’s nice to know you’re the guy. It’s the fear of the unknown. I knew what I was getting into when I applied. The job comes with a ton of responsibility, but I’m not afraid of the work and the responsibility that comes with it.”
He recalls the first mention of a major event in his life that made its way into the Akron Beacon Journal in 1984.
“A Hose marries a Fawcett, [his wife’s maiden name] hopefully they will have several sprinklers.”
They did have children – three to be exact.
‘‘My father used to say with a name like Hose there wasn’t much else we could do other than being firefighters,’’ he said. “But I guess that’s it. I’m an only son and I have three daughters who don’t seem to show much interest in firefighting.”
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.