Kansas City names interim chief for fire department. Permanent leader to be sought

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A 27-year veteran with the Kansas City Fire Department has been selected to lead the department on an interim basis while the city searches for its next fire chief, City Manager Brian Platt announced Friday.

Assistant Fire Chief Ross Grundyson has been named interim fire chief, replacing Donna Lake, who retired after leading the fire department for three years. Lake will become an assistant city manager in Lee’s Summit on Feb. 6.

Grundyson joined the Kansas City Fire Department in 1996 and rose through the ranks to captain and battalion chief before serving in his current role of assistant fire chief, according to the release

During his career, Grundyson is credited with assisting in broadening paramedic support for residents citywide and playing an instrumental role through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grundyson, who is not in the running for the permanent chief position, said in a news release that he was thankful for the opportunity to serve the community and the department.

“Our team is working every day to make a positive impact on our community on the ground,” he said. “It is an honor to serve in this position while the search for a new fire chief is underway.”

Mayor Quinton Lucas said that he was pleased by the appointment and was looking forward to working with Grundyson as the city works to build on progress it’s made, including “more rapid deployment and delivery of fire and EMS services, pay increases for the women and men of our department, and building an inclusive fire department reflective of our community.”

Grundyson dedicated service to the fire department has earned him a reputation of integrity and respect, said Daniel Heizman, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 42.

“Local 42 is excited about his appointment to interim fie chief and we have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead this department forward until a worthy successor has been selected,” Heizman said.

The city will conduct a nationwide search for the next fire chief.