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Eastham sworn in as fire chief

Feb. 28, 2013 @ 11:30 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Carl Eastham was sworn in as Huntington's new fire chief Thursday at City Hall.

Eastham, who retired from the department as a captain in 2011 after 26 years of service, was joined by family, friends and several firefighters during the brief ceremony. He called the appointment a lifelong achievement and said he will do his best to lead the men and women of the department.

"My goal is to get back to tradition and the basics in how we deliver services to the public," Eastham said. "We are a well trained department, but, like many other departments, we've had financial problems that have made our jobs more difficult."

Eastham takes the helm of a beleaguered department that has been plagued by budgetary problems, staffing issues and low morale. He is the city's seventh fire chief -- including interim heads -- in less than four years. He said he will strive to restore financial stability in the department and boost morale.

Eastham also said one of his immediate concerns will be monitoring whether across-the-board budget cuts in federal spending will eliminate a grant program that provides funding for fire department staffing. The Fire Department has submitted a grant application that would allow the department to hire six additional firefighters, he said.

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