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New Fire Chief Joey Gardner Takes Helm of Oxford Fire Department

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

Oxford Fire Chief Joey Gardner. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

When Oxford’s new Fire Chief Joey Gardner’s house caught on fire when he was a child, seeing the local firefighters working hard to help him and his family save their home left a lasting impression.

“I know how it is to lose part or all of your stuff,” he said. “Seeing that as a kid made me want to help other people. These people who I didn’t know came and helped save our stuff. That always stuck with me.”

With the influence of those childhood memories, Gardner became a firefighter himself at 21 years old after entering the Fire Academy and being hired by the Oxford Fire Department. Working his way up the ranks over the years, his dedication and hard work didn’t go unnoticed.

Earlier this month, he was officially named Oxford’s fire chief after serving as interim when former chief Mark Heath left the department in August.

He served as deputy chief for several years before being named chief.

“It was the next step,” he said. “This has been a goal of mine for a long time.”

Gardner, 42, will oversee the fire department as it grows this year with the eventual addition of a new station in Oxford Commons.

“We’ll be hiring nine new firefighters and buying a new truck for that station,” he said. “We are making sure we are providing the same services to our new areas. And we have. We started responding to those annexed areas the day it was finalized.”

OFD currently has 61 firefighters and three stations.

Gardner is married to his wife, Hope, who teaches at Della Davidson Elementary School. They have two sons, Tyler, 17 and Ben, 13.

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