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CTY promote23p verdell and marquardt Toledo Fire and Rescue Department Battalion Chief Verdell Franklin swears in the department's newly promoted Deputy Assistant Chief Karen Marquardt during a promotion ceremony at One Government Center.
Toledo Fire and Rescue Department Battalion Chief Verdell Franklin swears in the department's newly promoted Deputy Assistant Chief Karen Marquardt during a promotion ceremony at One Government Center.
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Published: Friday, 5/23/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Toledo department welcomes 1st female assistant fire chief

BY VANESSA McCRAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

For the first time, a woman is assistant chief of the Toledo Fire Department.

Assistant Chief Karen Marquardt was promoted during a ceremony today at One Government Center. She previously was battalion chief.

The promotion makes her second in command to Chief Luis Santiago, and the first female to hold that position. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Toledo Fire Department promotions

Sierra Hillebrand pins newly promoted Deputy Assistant Chief Karen Marquardt during the promotion ceremony. Sierra Hillebrand pins newly promoted Deputy Assistant Chief Karen Marquardt during the promotion ceremony.
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She acknowledged the historic achievement during a promotion ceremony and credited the first female firefighters who blazed the path ahead of her. She joined the department in June, 1996.

“It will be nice when this promotion is just about the promotion, and it’s not about the race or the gender,” she said, after taking an oath and receiving warm applause from the audience gathered in the city council chambers.

Mayor D. Michael Collins called the event a “proud moment for the city” that shows Toledo is a “progressive city.” He noted the fire department hired its first female firefighters 30 years ago. 

Chief Santiago praised his new assistant chief, adding that the “holistic approach” she brings to her job allows her to see the big picture. She will continue to head the department‘s Bureau of Professional Standards.

Other promotions today included Battalion Chief Michael Nicely, a former captain; Captain Robert Walters, a former lieutenant; and Lt. Michael Howe, a former private.



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