MIAMI, Okla. — The City of Miami has appointed a new fire chief.

In a unanimous decision over the weekend, Chris Chenoweth was selected as the next fire chief to replace former Fire Chief Robert Wright. Wright served in the role for the past 28 years.

Chenoweth is a 2004 graduate of Welch High School and began his firefighting career with Miami in 2013. Before that he served with the Welch Volunteer Fire Department. He has served in a variety of roles with MFD and was promoted twice since then.

Chenoweth’s father was a 30-year volunteer veteran with the department as well – something that has inspired him: “Growing up around it, firefighting always interested me,” he said.

Another inspiration for his current career came from his work during the Joplin tornado as an ER nurse with Integris. This experience helped influence his decision to return to firefighting Chenoweth said.

“I like helping people. I like being outside, traveling around and didn’t like being cooped up in the ER. I like the work, the physical part of the work,” Chief Chenoweth said. “I got to work with Chief Wright before his retirement and that is what prepared ne to do this. It really helped me understand the administrative side of the job.”

The upcoming fire chief’s focus for the department includes more aggressive with training as well as water rescue training. He emphasized that small town fire crews need to be well versed in multiple fields of rescue as opposed to those from bigger cities.

Chenoweth’s wife Ashley is a teacher in Welch and the couple have two children Hadley and Holden.