The Ottumwa Courier

Community News Network

February 7, 2013

Knoxville prepares for new fire chief

KNOXVILLE — Knoxville's new fire chief, Nick Bonstell, will officially start the job on Monday, Feb. 11. 

Bonstell comes to Knoxville from Grand Rapids, Mich. When he learned the job in Knoxville was available, he was eager to apply because of the Knoxville Raceway. He, with wife, Kristi, twin infant daughters and four-year-old son moved to their new home last weekend. The Larson-area neighbors have all been friendly, and the Bonstell family has received many plates of cookies. 

The chief has taken this past week to get to know more people. He had spent a great deal of time in Knoxville, prior to the move, to meet with City officials and members of the fire department. Getting to know the rest of the town this week has been enjoyable, he said. 

Bonstell sees a great deal of potential for the Knoxville Fire/Rescue Department. For that matter, the City on the whole. He spoke highly of Greg Higginbothem and Ben Truetken, who will help him oversee the rescue and fire aspects of the department, respectively. Bonstell believes it will take all of their leadership to make the department the best it can be. 

As he spoke about the future of the department, Bonstell wants to examine staffing to ensure that the department is able to serve the community well on weekends. He intends to update plans and procedures, some of which do not seem to have been updated since 1996. In another community service, he would like to help organize an insurance review for the City. This review would examine response times to help establish and update insurance information that could, potentially, reduce insurance costs for Knoxville. 

In closing, Bonstell said the fire department's door will be open. He hopes people will find the time to say hello and introduce themselves. 

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