PITTSBURG, Kan. — The City of Pittsburg has appointed Dennis Reilly to serve as the new Pittsburg fire chief. Reilly will take over for Mike Simons, who recently announced his retirement after 20 years with the department.

The City of Pittsburg has appointed Pittsburg Fire Marshal & Safety Coordinator Tom Vacca as interim fire chief effective Sept. 26. Reilly will begin his new role as fire chief beginning in mid-October.

"I am excited about Mr. Reilly's willingness to become Pittsburg's new fire chief," Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall said in a press release. "His wealth of experience and his life-long commitment to fire service is impressive. I look forward to the positive impact he will have on both the fire department and our community."

Reilly is a distinguished fire service veteran with more than 44 years of experience. He previously served as assistant fire chief for the City of Davis, California, fire chief for Sunrise Beach, Missouri, assistant fire chief in Linville, North Carolina, and battalion chief for Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey.

Along with his service in Cherry Hill, Chief Reilly was one of the original members of the New Jersey State Urban Search & Rescue Task Force. Among his multiple deployments, Reilly operated as a rescue squad officer at Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

In addition to his fire service career, Reilly is a US Army veteran. Spending over six years on active duty, he served as a combat medic with the 82nd Airborne Division, a flight medic with over 500 hours of flight time, and as a combat medic with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, and was deployed during the first Gulf War.

Reilly holds an associate’s degree in Fire Protection from Durham Technical College, a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from North Carolina Central University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Penn State University.