FORNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Forney will have a new fire chief in a little more than a month.

The city announced the hiring Monday of Derek Briggs as the next Fire Chief, following the retirement of Chief Rick Townsend.

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Briggs will be leaving his position as EMS Division Chief for the Abilene Fire Department and is expected to join the Forney Fire Department on June 1, 2020, the city said in a news release.

Derek Briggs – hired as next Forney Fire Chief (credit: City of Abilene)

“I’m excited to move back to the North Texas area and further pursue my passion for service and firefighting,” said Chief Briggs. “I look forward to providing active leadership, a fresh perspective, and to continue my professional development with the Forney Fire Department. It’s a great opportunity in a growing community and I’m truly honored and humbled to accept the role as Fire Chief for the City of Forney.”

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Soon-to-be Chief Briggs is a graduate of Columbia Southern University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Services Administration. He also has several certifications including a Fire Service Chief Executive Officer certification from the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

Chief Briggs was a graduate of Lewisville High School and started his firefighting career in The Colony as a volunteer. Briggs has been with the Abilene Fire Department since 1997 and has served in various roles such as Company Officer, Training Captain, and his current role, EMS Division Chief.

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“Chief Briggs brings a wealth of education and experience in fire service to the City of Forney. As difficult as it will be to follow Chief T in this position, I am confident that Chief Briggs is up to the task,” said City Manager Tony Carson.