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Harrisonburg’s new fire chief sworn-in

Chief Tobia thanks his wife for supporting him through all of his roles and helping to get him where he's at now.
Chief Tobia thanks his wife for supporting him through all of his roles and helping to get him where he's at now.(whsv)
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 7:21 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - On Friday, after being on the job for more than a month, Chief Matthew Tobia of the Harrisonburg Fire Department was officially sworn-in to his role.

Chief Tobia took the position on June 28 and was previously a Deputy Chief with the department over the past year. The official ceremony took place in city council chambers where the clerk of court, Chaz Haywood, had Tobia take an oath.

Chief Tobia replaces Chief Ian Bennet who stepped down from the role back in April to take a position with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

Before coming to Harrisonburg, Tobia served as the Assistant Chief of Support Services and Volunteer Administration for Loudoun County Fire and Rescue, and before that, served with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department in Maryland from 1992 to 2014.

He's certified through the Center for Public Safety Excellence, the National Board of Fire Service Professional Qualifications, and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, among other designations, and is affiliated with the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Harrisonburg officials say his first goal as fire chief will be to “ensure the Friendly City continues to receive the outstanding service residents have always experienced from HFD.”

Tobia has no plans to make any immediate changes, instead of focusing on planning for the future.

“The fortunate thing about this fire department is that it really doesn’t need anything immediately because its a very high performing department,” Chief Tobia said. “What I want to do is listen very carefully to our community and hear what their vision for a fire department should be and I also want to listen to the men and women who provide service every day.”

Tobia said the search is now underway to find a new deputy chief for the department.

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