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Portsmouth Fire Chief announces retirement

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Posted at 7:18 PM, Jun 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-21 19:18:56-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Portsmouth Fire & Rescue Services Chief James E. Hoffler has announced his retirement from the department.

Chief Hoffler's retirement goes into effect on July 1.

Hoffler spent his entire professional firefighting career, 41 years, with the city of Portsmouth. He also spent seven years as an auxiliary firefighter.

Hoffler began his fire service career in 1979. He achieved the rank of Deputy Fire Chief in 2012, and earned the appointment to Fire Chief in 2017.

“We were fortunate to have such a committed, passionate firefighter, paramedic, and leader protecting and serving our community for over four decades,” said City Manager Dr. L. Pettis Patton.

Hoffler attended Virginia Department of Fire Programs and continued his higher education at Tidewater Community College (TCC), Hampton University, and Columbia Southern University.

He was awarded the Firefighter of the Year in 1987 and 1997, and received the Gold Medal of Valor twice.

Under Chief Hoffler’s leadership the department completed the following initiatives:
Firefighter cancer recognition and preventative measures:

  1. Supported two sets of firefighter turnout gear
  2. Provided new gear lockers to store and protect the firefighter gear
  3. Implemented a new policy for fire ground operations and cancer prevention strategies

Supported the innovations with emergency medical care:

  1. New heart monitors
  2. New CPR assist devices
  3. New policy for initiating pit-crew style resuscitation

Provided ballistic vests and emergency medical equipment

  1. Implemented a unified policy with the Police Department for active shooter responses

Assisted with modernizing the Fire/EMS response vehicle fleet
Supported the FEMA Assistance to Firefighter Grant for new Self-contained breathing apparatus and fill stations

Hoffler says he will always continue his passion for the fire and emergency services. “Being able to disconnect from my current duties as fire chief, I plan to enjoy time with my family, my wife Holly and our dog Daisy Mae.”