Franklin’s new fire chief plans to be on the scene
Kevin Rohrer’s story will sound familiar to many residents of Franklin.
After spending more than two decades in the hustle and bustle of Wake County, Rohrer has decided to return to his country roots and take the fire chief’s position at the Franklin Fire Department.
“I grew up in a small town and I have always kind of had that small-town mentality,” Rohrer said on Wednesday. “When the job in Franklin came open I thought that it would be a good fit and after visiting the town and meeting with some of the administration I am confident that moving to Franklin is the right decision.”
Rohrer will take over the chief job on May 9. He will replace Tim Chavis, who has been serving as the interim chief for the past five months since the town board of aldermen decided to pursue filling the chief’s position with a fulltime employee in December 2015.
During the interview process, Rohrer was able to travel to Macon County and meet with members of the department. He noted that he plans to take a cautious approach to department operations early in his tenure.
“The Franklin Fire Department has a rich history, and I am looking forward to being a part of helping the department continue its tradition of providing excellent service,” Rohrer said. “I don’t want to make any assumptions before I actually get there and see how things operate. At first, I am going to be learning as much from the department staff as they are learning from me.”
Rohrer has been with the Morrisville Fire and Rescue Department for the past 16 years. Before that he worked at the Graham Fire Department and has previous experience as a volunteer firefighter.
“I got my start as a volunteer at a combination department and I am familiar with the challenges that having both full time employees and volunteers can present,” Rohrer said. “It’s going to be up to me to sit down with some of the volunteers who have been at the department for a while and hear what they have to say so that we can keep our current roster and possibly add volunteers in the future.”
As a captain with Morrisville Fire and Rescue, Rohrer has experience leading firefighting crews in the field. Despite the differences in terrain, the chief’s position in Franklin will not be uncharted territory for the Waldorf University graduate.
“Morrisville, being a more urban department, our current chief is an administrative chief and he lets the captains handle the actual fire calls,” Rohrer said. “I am comfortable on the scene because that is where I feel like I am in my element, and I know to rely on my training and experience.”
Rohrer is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program and the National Fire Academy.
The Town of Franklin will host a meet-and-greet session with Rohrer from 2-4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11.