DeFuniak Springs names new fire chief


Newly hired Fire Chief Ross Sheffield (center) is welcomed by DeFuniak Springs City Manager Mell Smigielski (left) and Fire Department Lt. Jerry Hall (right) on his first day on the job. (Photo by Christopher Mitchell, Public Information Officer)

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. — The City of DeFuniak Springs has selected Walton County native Ross Sheffield as the City’s new fire chief replacing retired Fire Chief Charles Burney. 

The new fire chief will oversee the city’s fire department of 12 firefighter/EMTs, life-saving firefighting equipment, fire and life safety inspections, community outreach and overall emergency response and strategic planning.

Sheffield is a Walton High School graduate who served nearly 30 years as a career fireman with the Birmingham Fire & Rescue in Alabama.  He began his firefighting career as a tailboard fireman and advanced to driver/engineer, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, assistant chief, deputy chief and acting fire chief. 

Sheffield is certified as a nationally registered EMT/paramedic and has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an associate’s in fire science, and an associate’s in electrical engineering technology.

“Chief Sheffield will be an invaluable asset to the citizens of DeFuniak Springs and our entire fire protection team,” says City Manager Mell Smigielski.  “We all will benefit from his skills and many years of professional service, and we welcome him to the City and back home to his roots and our community.”

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