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Tina Watkins is no longer leading the Petersburg Fire Department

Posted at 6:33 PM, Dec 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-30 18:33:20-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Less than a year after she made history as the first woman to serve as Petersburg Fire Chief, Tina Watkins is no longer in charge of the department.

CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil confirmed the change in leadership.

Watkins came to Petersburg after she retired from Richmond Fire following 34 years in the city.

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Petersburg has named Battalion Chief Chris McGann as its interim chief.

The exact reasoning for the change has not yet been made public.

Last month, the CBS 6 Problem Solvers reported on staffing shortages plaguing the department.

The shortages prompted the closure of Petersburg Fire Station Number 5 over Thanksgiving.

"Being closed is not an option. You make sure you keep that station open for our citizens here in Petersburg," Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham said in a City Council meeting last month.

During that council meeting, questions about the state of the fire department were asked of City Manager March Altman.

"I believe about, currently we have 22 vacancies. In asking HR, since February, I believe we'd received 161 applications for fire positions since February," Altman said.

Petersburg Councilman Howard Myers then called the situation "appalling."

In July, the Problem Solvers uncovered a years-long pattern of unkempt equipment maintenance at the Petersburg Fire Department.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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