COPLEY TWP. — Fire Capt. Chris Bower, an 18-year veteran of the Copley Fire Department, has been appointed fire chief.

He succeeds Michael Benson who resigned in July.

Bower, 52, will head a department with 18 full-time and 42 part-time firefighters. Township administrator Janice Marshall said the starting salary is $97,000.

With his wife Crystal, daughters Katie, 25, Megan, 17, and Jordan, 15, looking on, along with firefighters and friends, Bower was sworn in Tuesday by Trustee Scott Dressler. The family lives in Brookfield Township in Trumbull County.

Before joining the Copley department, Bower worked as a firefighter for the Cuyahoga Falls and Delaware County departments.

Bower's promotion will create a job opening which he said will be filled by moving up firefighters through the ranks.