Former Pekin, Peoria fire chief to take reins in Urbana

Former Pekin, Peoria fire chief to take reins in Urbana

URBANA — Urbana will soon have a new fire chief.

Mayor Diane Marlin on Friday announced that Charles E. Lauss will be the city's next fire chief, following the retirement of former Chief Brian Nightlinger in May. James Eggert has been serving as interim chief in the meantime.

"We have received overwhelming feedback that he is widely respected for his integrity, honesty, humility and strong work ethic," Marlin said of Lauss. "I believe his professionalism, collaborative style and dedication will make a significant contribution toward the future success of our fire department."

Lauss has been in the fire service for more than 30 years, spending much of that time at the Pekin Fire Department, where he served in all ranks, including six and a half years as fire chief before retiring. He also was the assistant fire chief of the city of Peoria for two years, and then chief for two more years.

He holds a master's degree in leadership with an emphasis on disaster preparedness and executive fire service leadership from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. He also is a graduate of the executive fire officer program through the National Fire Academy. And he's currently working toward another master's in public administration from the same institution.

"I am excited, very humbled, very honored and looking forward to serving the community here in Urbana," Lauss said. "The department is absolutely wonderful. And the firefighters are very, very dedicated."

Lauss praised the Urbana Fire Department's Insurance Service Office rating, a 1 out of 10. It's a rating, he said, less than 1 percent of the nation has achieved.

Lauss' appointment will be voted on by the Urbana City Council at a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday. He's slated to begin work Sept. 4.

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