|David Bowles takes over for Bennie Russell|
Staff Photo by K.A. Wagoner:
Former FBI HAZMAT Officer David Bowles has been chosen as Franklin County’s new fire marshal. Bowles takes over for Bennie Russell, who retired after serving as fire marshal for 20 years.
Monday, April 21, 2014
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
Paramedic, firefighter and former FBI HAZMAT Officer David Bowles has been chosen as Franklin County's new fire marshal.
Bowles, 43, a native of Pittsylvania County, has been working for the Franklin County Department of Public Safety at Westlake since July 2013. He was promoted to his new position after the retirement of Bennie Russell, who served as the county fire marshal for 20 years.
"We have many highly trained and talented employees with the department of public safety," said Director Daryl Hatcher. "I am pleased that we were able to fill the vacancy from within the department."
Bowles came to Franklin County from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he worked as a hazardous materials officer from 2009 to 2013, traveling to 48 states, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.
"It's great being back home," Bowles said. "After traveling around the world, it is nice to spend more time at home with my family."
Bowles lives in Gretna with his wife, Angela. They have one daughter, Savanna, who teaches fifth grade in Pittsylvania County.
With experience in emergency medical services, firefighting, investigations, hazardous materials, and search and rescue, Bowles may be a perfect fit for the fire marshal position with duties that include inspections, investigations and teaching.
"This is a new frontier for me," Bowles said. "I always enjoy a challenge. Fire investigations involve a lot of detailed analysis. It's like solving a puzzle."
The self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie also enjoys rock climbing, horseback riding and golf. He runs 25 miles each week and is working on obtaining his pilot's license.
Bowles graduated from the Roanoke College of Health Sciences in 1992 with a degree in emergency health sciences (paramedic). Throughout his career, he has earned numerous certifications through continuing education. He holds certifications in HAZMAT, firefighting, USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) and paramedic.
Bowles worked as a paramedic in Guilford County, N.C., from 1994 to 2001. He also worked as a firefighter in Lynchburg from 2001 to 2009.