Edenton names new fire chief


Staff photo by Reggie Ponder Chowan Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Smith presented the Snooky Bond Excellence in Tourism Award to the Edenton Steamers. Pictured (l-r) are Bob Turner, Smith, and Billy Bass.


Chowan Herald

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

EDENTON — A 29-year veteran of the Edenton Fire Department has been promoted to head the agency, the town manager announced this week.  

Billy Bass, a captain with the department who serves as its training officer, is Edenton’s new fire chief, Town Manager Anne Marie Knighton said. 

Bass, who begins his duties as fire chief on Wednesday, Jan. 16, succeeds Craig Forlines, who retired last February. Bass will be formally sworn in February, Knighton said.

Briefing Edenton’s mayor and Town Council on Bass’ promotion, Knighton said she was “so pleased to be appointing a fire chief who has worked his way up” the ranks of the fire department.

“Bass has the training and skills to manage the fire department and he has the enthusiasm to help people, which is Edenton Fire Department’s mantra, and I think he is going to be a great addition to the town leadership team,” she said.

Knighton said Bass is excited about working with the department’s captains and firefighters on ways to prevent or mitigate the risks Edenton’s firefighters face. He also hopes to expand the department’s fire prevention education initiatives in the schools and the community.

“Captain Bass shares your vision for safe neighborhoods and has pledged to work closely with the Planning & Inspections Department to help with code enforcement efforts,” she said.

Bass, who began his career as a fire engineer and was promoted to captain in 2009, said he first thought about becoming a firefighter while growing up. 

“I grew up with a childhood friend whose father was an Edenton fireman and when I had the opportunity to join the department I jumped at it,” he said. “The fire family has become my extended family.”

Bass credited the former fire chiefs he served — Lynn Perry, Chuck Westbrook and Forlines — as well as his first shift officer, Gary Swanner, for pushing him to further his education.

In 2009, he earned an associate’s degree in fire protection technology from Coastal Carolina Community College. Last year, he earned his bachelor’s degree in fire and emergency services administration from Fayetteville State University.

Bass also has earned numerous fire service certifications, including NC certified fire officer 2; NC Level 2 fire instructor; North Carolina fire chief 101; and NC driver operator pumps and aerials. In 2017, he earned his probationary certificate for fire inspector.

Bass also has been an active member of the Albemarle Firemen’s Association for many years. A past president of the group, he has served as its treasurer since 2008.

Bass also is active in the Edenton community. He has served in various leadership roles with the Edenton Steamers baseball organization and has been president of the Chowan Area Sports Association since 2016. He also is president of the Edenton Chowan Community Foundation.

A life-long resident of Edenton, Bass and his wife Jennifer have three daughters — Lauren, Natalie and Kinnan.