FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Fort Smith city administrator Carl Geffken appoints acting fire chief Boyd Waters as chief for the city’s fire department effective March 20.

According to a press release from the city of Fort Smith, Waters served as the interim chief since the passing of fire chief Phil Christensen in February following a nine-month battle with cancer.

“This appointment carries with it mixed emotions for me. I am honored that the City Administrator and Board of Directors have the faith in me to continue Phil’s legacy. He left big shoes to fill and I will share in the same commitment and dedication he had to lead this Department and serve the residents of Fort Smith,” said Waters.

“Boyd Waters was promoted to Assistant Chief on the same day the late Phil Christensen was promoted to Fire Chief. He supported Phil in all aspects of the job and kept the Department running on all cylinders through a very difficult time. Boyd’s experience, character, and dedication to the FSFD made him a clear choice for the role. I am pleased to see him move into this leadership position with our City,” said Geffken.

The release says Waters has been with the fire department since February 2000, where he started as a firefighter.

According to the release he was promoted to driver, followed by a promotion to captain in February 2011. He was promoted to battalion chief/shift commander in September 2013 and assistant chief in August 2016.

The release says Waters is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Southern Arkansas University Tech. He holds an associate of applied science in fire and emergency response.

According to the release, his achievements include:

  • 2012 Achievement Medal for Apparatus Specifications
  • 2011 Achievement Medal for SCBA Technician
  • 2011 Certificate of Appreciation for the Firefighter Indoctrination Program
  • 2009 Medal of Valor for Rescuing a Victim in a Fire
  • 2009 Noon Exchange Club Firefighter of the Year
  • 2004 Jaycees Luther Bevel Outstanding Young Firefighter of the Year
  • Arkansas Fire Academy 2000 Spring Class Outstanding Academic Achievement Award

The release says Waters will serve out of Fire Station No. 1 at 200 N. 5th Street in downtown Fort Smith.

Fire Station No. 1 will be named the Phillip P. Christensen Fire Station 1 in honor of the former fire chief, according to the release.