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Chapel Hill Fire Chief Vencelin Harris to retire after nearly 30 years with department

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A Carolina blue fire truck is photographed at Chapel Hill Fire Department on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd on Oct. 10, 2022.

Chapel Hill's fire chief, Vencelin Harris, has announced he will retire on July 1 after three years in the role.

Harris has almost 30 years of experience in the Chapel Hill Fire Department, and served as the emergency management coordinator for the Town of Chapel Hill from February 2018 to February 2020.

"After many conversations with my family last spring, we decided that it is time for us to start the next journey in our lives over the summer of 2023 and start to accomplish many of our family goals that we paused when I took the roles of Emergency Management Coordinator and Fire Chief,” Harris said in a press release.

Several other high-ranking staff have recently stepped down from their positions for the Town, including former town manager Maurice Jones and former police chief Chris Blue, who is now serving as the interim town manager.

“It will be hard to replace the institutional knowledge that Chief Harris will take with him,” Blue said in the press release. “We all appreciate his dedicated service to our community for nearly three decades and I look forward to celebrating his numerous achievements in the coming months. We will begin the search for his replacement immediately.”

@ethanehorton1

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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Ethan E. Horton

Ethan E. Horton is the 2023-24 city & state editor at The Daily Tar Heel. He has previously served as a city & state assistant editor and as the 2023 summer managing editor. Ethan is a senior pursuing a double major in journalism and media and political science, with a minor in history.

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