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Coming soon: New chief

By Joanie Morris

Kannapolis Citizen

While the city is in negotiations with a possible new fire chief — and with the last days of Chief Larry Phillips and Assistant Chief Danny Scott behind them — have no fear.

Scott Linebarger is here.

City Manager Mike Legg has appointed Division Chief Linebarger as interim chief, effective Jan. 1 until Jan. 30.

Linebarger was first hired by the city of Kannapolis in December 1998. He previously worked for the city of Salisbury’s fire department for approximately 12 years. In October 2002, he was promoted to fire inspector and in August 2005, he was promoted to division chief over the training division.

Linebarger, 40, is a resident of Granite Quarry. He lives there with his wife, Sharon, and two sons, Matthew and Adam.

“With his experience and his abilities, I have no doubt he’ll be able to be a very good interim chief,” said Phillips.

Assistant City Manager Eddie Smith said Wednesday that a new fire chief was being offered the position this week and anticipated that he would accept or decline as early as next week.

Officials said it is anticipated that the hiring of a new fire chief will be accomplished before Jan. 30.

Outgoing Chief Phillips is the only fire chief the city has had. His last day is Dec. 31, and Assistant Fire Chief Danny Scott is retiring at the same time.

Phillips was the city’s first full-time fire employee. Scott was the second.

The career paths of Phillips and Scott have been intertwined through the years. Both first worked together at The Daily Independent. At 17, Phillips was the manager of then 12-year-old paperboy Scott.

In 1969, Phillips became a volunteer firefighter with the Kannapolis Sanitary District — a quasi-governmental body that oversaw water, sewer and firefighting before the incorporation of Kannapolis.

Scott became a volunteer with the same district in 1972.

Phillips joined the Concord Fire Department in 1973. Scott joined the Concord Fire Department in 1975.

The city of Kannapolis incorporated in 1984, and residents voted in 1987 to consolidate two sanitary districts to form the Kannapolis Fire Department.

The three fire departments involved were the Kannapolis Sanitary District, Kannapolis Village and Royal Oaks.

The Kannapolis Village District served Cannon Mills, and the Royal Oaks Sanitary District covered an area of about a square mile inside the current city limits. The Kannapolis Sanitary District covered roughly two-thirds of the city.

The city of Kannapolis hired Phillips as the first fire chief in 1987.

Scott became the second full-time employee with the department in 1989. In 1991, the department hired its third full-time employee, a fire inspector.

The Fire Department relied mostly on volunteers until 1997, when it hired its first career fire staff by adding 12 engineers. Now the department has 57 full-time staff, 40 volunteers and 16 part-time personnel.

An assistant will be hired by the new chief once the new chief is named.

Contact Joanie Morris at 704-932-3336 or jmorris@kannapoliscitizen.com.

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