WADSWORTH: With a standing-room-only audience at City Hall, Carl Rommel was introduced, sworn in, badged and kissed as Wadsworth’s 15th fire chief at a ceremony Monday.
Rommel, with 18 years of service with the city's fire department, was selected to fill the vacancy left by Ralph Copley, who retired December 31 after serving 10 years as chief.
Safety Director Matt Hiscock introduced Rommel, noting it was "a great and exciting swearing in" and the number of people who filled the chambers was a "testament to" Rommel. Hiscock said he was "happy to put the responsibility of chief" with Rommel.
Mayor Robin Laubaugh swore in Rommel, pointing out the standing-room-only crowd was "overwhelming." Laubaugh explained the swearing in of a new fire chief "doesn't happen very often." Copley served for 10 years and his predecessor Richard Hontert for 15. Both attended the ceremony.
Rommel's wife, Denise, was given the honor of placing the chief's badge on his chest and she sealed it with a kiss.
In his pledge, Rommel swore to uphold the United States and Ohio Constitutions, the ordinances of Wadsworth, the policies and procedures of the fire and EMS departments and the duties of fire chief.
During his maiden speech as chief, Rommel praised Copley and Hontert for the roles they played in his tenure on the force. He also praised his wife for her patience and expressed his love for her.
His vision for the department, Rommel noted, was to "provide the best possible service to the citizens." As fire chief, Rommel will oversee both the fire and EMS departments.
Rommel, 50, joined the Wadsworth department in 1994 as a paid on-call member and became full time in 1998 as a firefighter/paramedic. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2001 and captain in 2003.
Chiefs from surrounding districts, members of the Wadsworth fire and EMS departments city officials and Rommel's family members filled the audience to witness the swearing in ceremony.