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Ben Mikesell | The Journal Gazette
Eric Lahey, an 18-year fire department veteran, is sworn in Monday as Fort Wayne fire chief by City Clerk Sandra Kennedy at Citizens Square.

18-year department vet sworn in as fire chief

Surrounded by his wife and daughters, Eric Lahey was sworn in Monday as Fort Wayne’s 22nd fire chief.

Taking the oath of office from City Clerk Sandy Kennedy, Lahey swore to “honorably, faithfully and impartially discharge the duties” of the post, which he takes after 18 years with the department.

Afterward, Lahey hugged, shook hands and posed for pictures with friends and family who filled the Citizens Square meeting room for the short ceremony.

“The staff is in place, and we’ve already started putting plans in motion,” Lahey said of the department. “We’re ready.”

Lahey joined the department in 1996 and was most recently a firefighter at Station 11 on Rudisill Boulevard. He replaces Amy Biggs, who resigned May 20. Biggs’ last day as chief was Sunday and she and returns to the rank of captain.

Lahey, a Fort Wayne native and Concordia Lutheran High School graduate, said he is honored to hold the position and to be able to serve the citizens of Fort Wayne.

“It’s a huge honor to be selected,” he said. “I’ve always cherished the fact that I can serve the citizens of Fort Wayne.”

Mayor Tom Henry praised Lahey and said his leadership will let residents sleep well at night, knowing the fire department is always ready to help when needed.

Public Safety Director Rusty York thanked the family and friends present for the ceremony, noting it was scheduled to allow Lahey’s daughter to make her first drivers’ education course.

“Family is so important, because it’s you all who sit home and worry every day, just hoping they come home safe,” York told the crowd.

Aside from his history with the department, Lahey served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 1992 from active service. He then spent six years in the Indiana National Guard, reaching the rank of staff sergeant.

Jeremy Bush, president of Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters Local 124, said the union will work well with Lahey.

“He’s a good guy and we look forward to working with him,” Bush said.