SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah’s fire chief is stepping down from his role for a new opportunity with his hometown fire department.

According to the city, Chief Derik Minard’s last day with the Savannah Fire Department will be July 1. He’ll be returning home to Westminster, Colorado, to serve as their fire chief.

“Chief Minard is the epitome of a professional fire chief, and I could not have asked for a better leader to work with during my first year as city manager,” said City Manager Jay Melder.

Minard spent nearly 30 years with the Westminister Fire Department before he joined Savannah Fire in 2019.

Minard is the 35th fire chief for the Hostess City. He oversees a department of more than 300 full-time firefighters.

For me, being a fire chief is all about building the department’s culture. It has been the honor of a lifetime to cultivate an inclusive, welcoming culture where all firefighters and civilian staff want to come to work each day and have a voice in the vision for the future of our department. I appreciate City Manager Melder, our City Council, and my fellow members of Team Savannah for welcoming me and allowing me to be a part of this work family for three years; it is bittersweet to be leaving a city I have enjoyed calling home and going back to the only other home I have known as a firefighter is the only reason I would ever leave.

Chief Derik Minard

Melder has appointed Assistant Chief Elzie Kitchen to serve as the interim fire chief.

Officials said the city will be moving forward with the process of hiring a permanent chief.