Charleston Mayor Joe Riley has picked Thomas Carr as Charleston’s next fire chief. Carr was a chief in Montgomery County, Md. It’s now up to the City Council to confirm the selection.

Carr, chief of Montgomery County (Md.) Fire and Rescue Service, emerged as a leading contender early on. He has local ties, a reputation as an innovative leader and leads a department considerably larger than Charleston’s. Several fire service veterans have said it would be a coup for Charleston to get Carr as its new chief. Carr has 30 years experience in the fire service, including four years as chief. The Charleston native oversees 2,200 paid and volunteer firefighters.

City officials met the finalists for the position last week. Riley and his hiring panels interviewed the seven men on Tuesday. Charleston Fire Chief Rusty Thomas retired earlier this year amid damaging reports of the department’s response to the June 2007 Sofa Super Store fire that killed nine firefighters.

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