Kingman's new fire chief looking forward to duties

He's scheduled to meet the City Council Dec. 2

Jake Rhoades

Jake Rhoades

KINGMAN - Newly hired Kingman Fire Chief Jake Rhoades began his career in the fire service in Stillwater, Okla., in 1992.

He played baseball in college, and after graduation, he said, "It was time to find a career."

Rhoades, who will take over for longtime Chief Chuck Osterman in December, spent 16 years at the Stillwater Fire Department, the last five or six as its training officer.

He left Stillwater to take an assistant chief position in Jenks, Okla., in 2008 and one year later he went to the Rogers Fire Department in Arkansas as a deputy chief.

"That was a blessing," he said of his three years in Rogers. "It really helped the progression of my career."

Things bogged down at his next stop in Edmonds, Okla.

"I was brought in from the outside to elicit change," he said of his two-year tenure in Edmonds.

The effort ended a couple of months ago after three firefighters alleged Rhoades created a hostile work environment. An independent investigation found the complaints were without merit, but the damage was done. He resigned Aug. 1.

"Edmonds is a good fire department," he said. "There are a lot of great guys there, but there were challenges."

Married for nearly 23 years and the father of two boys, 21 and 15, Rhoades said he will begin his tenure in Kingman by studying the department and learning everything he can, as soon as he can.

He knows he's inheriting a well-managed fire department.

"Chief Osterman set a really good example. He was able to continue to provide a high level of service despite the economy and budget issues," said Rhoades.

Like their father, Rhoades' sons are athletes.

His older son currently plays baseball for a college in Oklahoma, and is thinking about playing football, as well.

His younger son, who will attend one of Kingman's high schools when the family moves here in January, also plays baseball and football.

Rhoades will be introduced to the community at the Dec. 2 City Council meeting.