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Submitted by WWAY on Tue, 06/24/2008 - 4:07pm.

Wilmington's city council is one step closer to naming a new fire chief after a day of intense interviews. The nationwide search has now been whittled down to four finalists. The first interviewed was Larry Collins, a fire chief from Dayton, Ohio. Next up was Cecil Martinette, an assistant county administrator from Virginia. Robert Ridgeway, a fire chief from Florida, was interviewed next. The only local contender to interview was interim Wilmington Fire Chief Frank Blackley. Wilmington City Council member Kristi Tomey said, "You know I think it's a tough decision. You have a lot of talent here, and picking the right fit for us is going to be tough. I have to tell you, but thank goodness out of the four candidates, I don't think we can make a bad choice. They're all outstanding." The process of finding a new chief began in January, after longtime chief Sam Hill announced his retirement. A final decision is expected in the next few weeks.

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