Fairfax Co. names interim fire chief, as Richard Bowers retires next week

WASHINGTON — A 33-year-veteran of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has been named interim chief to step in when Chief Richard Bowers Jr. retires April 30.

Assistant Chief John Caussin is currently the assistant fire chief of business services, having previously served as deputy chief of support services and field operations battalion chief.

In a statement released by the department, County Executive Bryan Hill expressed his support for Caussin: “We are confident in John’s ability to lead the department and maintain its excellent record of life saving service to the county during this transition.”

Hill’s statement suggested Caussin’s role in the top slot will be temporary.

“We are making progress in our efforts to identify a new Fire and Rescue Chief, as our focus remains on the future of our great department,” said Hill.

Fairfax County’s Department of Human Resources has contracted with Polihire to recruit the next fire chief. The position closes at the end of May, and the county expects the hiring process will be completed by early summer.

Bowers announced his retirement in February, weeks after new complaints of sexual harassment and bullying emerged in the department.

The department had undergone intense scrutiny after the disappearance and suicide of firefighter Nicole Mittendorff, who had been the subject of crude online postings — allegedly by department members.

In March, Hill, county leaders, and a group of female firefighters said the time has come to move forward, after almost two years of scrutiny.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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