Battle Creek's new Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant was sworn in on October 2nd.   By coincidence, one of the first fires under his watch happened a short distance from where he grew up.

The 60 year old Sturdivant was born in Battle Creek and raised at 366 North Washington Avenue. Ironically, the fire on October 2nd at 370 North Washington was  next door to his boyhood home.  He attended the former Washington Elementary School and Second Baptist Church.  His parents are buried at Fort Custer National Cemetery.

Sturdivant was hired in August by City Manager Rebecca Fleury to replace David Schmaltz who resigned in April.

Sturdivant brings some hefty qualifications to the job, including:

  • more than 25 years of experience,
  • deputy fire chief/emergency management coordinator for the city of Petersburg, Virginia.
  • fire departments in Milpitas, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Fulton County, Georgia.

The Battle Creek Department has:

  • 77 personnel assigned to one of three 24‐hour shifts for emergency response.
  • one fire inspector, a training officer, four battalion chiefs and the fire chief.
  • six stations throughout the city
  • administrative offices are located at 195 E. Michigan Ave.

Sturdivant was a recent guest on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim collins.  He talked about the use of fire retardant foam that has resulted in PFAS ground water contamination in some area communities and Battle Creek's plan to phase out its use.

He also talks about illegal drug manufacturing leading to many fires in Battle Creek.

Check out the video.