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Coatesville Fire Chief Quits After Report Details Department Shortcomings

(Former fire chief Kevin Johnson, center, on the scene of a fire in Coatesville.  Photos provided)

(Former fire chief Kevin Johnson, center, on the scene of a fire in Coatesville. Photos provided)

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COATESVILLE, Pa. (CBS) - The City of Coatesville is looking for a new fire chief after a scathing report criticized the department’s handling of an apartment complex fire last fall.

Seven firefighters were hurt in the blaze at the Millview Apartments (see related story).

Two retired Philadelphia firefighters were asked to look into how the fire was handled, and they concluded that a lack of command structure, paired with poor communications, put firefighters in danger.

The report has not been made public, but Coatesville city manager Gary Rawlings confirms its basic contents, along with the finding that these problems have been around for quite a while.

“It was going to be distributed to the fire department personnel and then the chief was going to come up with a training program to make sure that the incident wouldn’t happen again like that,” says Rawlings.

kevin johnson Coatesville Fire Chief Quits After Report Details Department ShortcomingsInstead, part-time chief Kevin Johnson (right) handed in his resignation on Monday.

He couldn’t be reached immediately for comment, but an interim replacement has been appointed and Rawlings is looking at how to improve operations.

One possible change: making the fire chief a full-time position.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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