Meet The Chief
Chief of Department
Welcome to the 2022 Lima Fire Department web page. I am Andy Heffner, Chief of Lima Fire. In May of 2020 I took over the reins of this department. What a year it has been. In December of 2019, when I began studying for the fire chief exam, the city was in an economic boom. That means there would be money for new equipment, more fire fighters would be hired and an ambulance or two would be replaced. What could go wrong? I was walking into a perfect situation. Put your feet up and don’t wreck the car is what I thought.
What is Covid? A question we all asked and an answer that we will never forget. The country shuts down, the economy screeches to a halt and then I am sworn in. We did not hire anyone. We lost fire fighters to attrition and no one was replaced. New equipment was certainly not in the near future. It was abundantly clear what could go wrong. In hind sight the true question is what went right?
Lima Fire ran almost 5800 calls and fought nearly 80 house fires. 20 of those fires a second alarm was struck. Two fires were large enough that mutual aid was needed for extinguishment. Our investigation bureau helped solve two homicides that were tied to house fires. LFD and LPD continued their strong cooperation in investigating crimes involving arsons in Lima. Our Prevention Bureau helped set up protocols and did research on what Covid 19 was. In incredibly trying conditions, LFD was able to operate with minimal staffing, under new protocols with little disruption in service. I would have to say all of these things were what went right.
It is difficult to put into words how proud I am of everyone at The Lima Fire Department. In the face of disease, in the face of being overworked, having no life balance, the largest call volume in the history of Lima Fire, they were fighters. I should say, Fire Fighters.
I would like to give a special thanks to Deputy Chief Brian Berheide (Ret). He was the Acting Chief when the pandemic was declared. His strong leadership and knowledge helped Lima Fire navigate through difficult waters. Deputy Chief Jack McDermitt and Deputy Chief Brian Stewart’s tireless efforts helped set up protocols for Lima Fire and also the City of Lima. Without their efforts it would have been extremely difficult to provide timely and proper service.
Chief Andy Heffner