Names in the News: August 1, 2020

Names in the News
Photo courtesy IFD

This bi-weekly series is dedicated to the latest promotions and other news within the fire service.

OLIVIA SNELL was named the first-ever female chief of the Guemes Island (WA) Fire Department (GIFD). Snell succeeds previous chief Gerry Francis, who retired. After a stint in the U.S. Coast Guard, where she rose through the ranks to be a boatswain’s mate, third class, and a merchant marine officer, Snell became a firefighter/EMT and served as assistant chief of the GIFD for around eight years. She also works as a medical assistant at Dakota Creek Industries’ medical clinic.

ED POULIN was named the new chief of the Hampden (MA) Fire Department (HFD) after serving as its interim chief. He is a 31-year HFD veteran whose father, Thomas Poulin, served as HFD chief from 1998 to 2001. Poulin succeeds previous HFD chief Michael Gorski, who retired. He is also the electrical inspector for the town of Wilbraham, Massachusetts. Poulin’s appointment to the part-time position expires on June 30, 2022.

CHRISTOPHER BYRNE was named the new chief of the Marco Island (FL) Fire-Rescue Department. Byrne, a retired deputy chief with 33 years of service, will start in his new position on September 1. He began his career as a firefighter and paramedic in 1983. He became a driver engineer in 1991. Five years later, he was promoted to lieutenant; in 1998, he was promoted to shift commander. Serving as an emergency management coordinator, Byrne is now managing two federally declared disaster incidents: Hurricane Irma and the COVID-19 pandemic.

AARON KNOTTS was named the new chief of the Chillicothe (OH) Fire Department (CFD). Knotts has spent nearly 20 years with the CFD; he was hired in 2001 after serving as an Air Force firefighter at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina for six years. He became a CFD lieutenant in 2012, and rose through the ranks to become assistant chief in April 2019. Knotts also served as union president for the CFD from 2006 to 2013.

ERIC FASS took over as the new chief of the Syracuse (NE) Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD). He replaces former chief Bruce Neemann, who retired after 32 years of service with the SVFD. Fass is a seven-year SVFD member and has been a line firefighter for 11 years. He said his priorities for the SVFD will be with training as well as securing grants to assist the department and creating a sinking fund/savings account to accept donations.

To feature yourself or a fellow member in “Names in the News,” please send an e-mail with the information (60-100 words) and a high-resolution photo of the member with the subject line “NITN” to

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