Charles Simms announced as interim Detroit fire commissioner
Mayor Duggan said Simms will make a "compelling candidate" for the permanent post as the city launches a nationwide search
Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — Mayor Mike Duggan on Tuesday announced an interim fire commissioner, who he said will make a "compelling candidate" for the permanent post as the city launches a nationwide search.
Charles Simms, 54, will serve in the top role after 35 years with the department. Simms has worked a number of posts, including roles as a firefighter, fire investigator lieutenant, investigator captain, chief of the Arson and Fire Investigation Division and the second deputy commissioner.
"Commissioner Simms has distinguished himself time and again throughout his career at the Detroit Fire Department and is ready to lead," Duggan said in a statement. "He has the experience, the respect of department members and the union. I expect him to be a compelling candidate for the role of permanent Fire Commissioner."
As chief of the arson division, Simms oversaw an increase in arson arrests and helped improve Detroit's ISO rating, a national homeowner insurance grading system that measures the city's preparedness to fight fires, according to the city.
Detroit's ISO rating went from Class 4 in 2013 to Class 2 last year, said Derek Hillman, special projects director for the fire department. Class 1 is the top rating, officials said.
"I'm humbled to have been entrusted with this incredible opportunity," Simms said. "Having been a part of the leadership team that helped our city end the 20-year fight against pre- Halloween fires and give Halloween back to the children of our city, I look forward to making an even greater impact."
Simms, who joined the department in 1986, was born and raised in Detroit and went to Pershing High School. He received his bachelor's degree in psychology and master's degree in education from Wayne State University.
Former Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones served left the top department job earlier this month, after being appointed in 2015.
More: Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones to leave position Jan. 14, city to begin national search
This month, Duggan touted fire department achievements under Jones' leadership, including reduced response times and improving the city's fire preparedness rating.
Duggan said he wants to make a hiring decision in the next three to six months.
Free Press reporter Miriam Marini contributed to this story.
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