Granville County native named new fire chief

Jan. 24, 2013 @ 07:18 PM

OXFORD — David Cottrell III has been selected to be chief of the Oxford Fire Department.

In making the announcement on Wednesday, interim City Manager Leonard Barefoot said Cottrell was selected from a pool of more than 40 candidates.

Cottrell, a Granville County native, assumed his new duties on Thursday.

He is a graduate of J.F. Webb High School and holds an associate’s degree in electronics engineering from Vance-Granville Community College.

Cottrell has served the citizens of Oxford for more than 18 years, most recently as a lieutenant with the fire department. He also has extensive experience in the fire service, including volunteer service with the Hicksboro Fire Department. While there, he served a six-year term as chief. He’s also served as a part-time fire and rescue instructor with VGCC.

In his statement announcing Cottrell’s appointment, Barefoot said the long list of applicants for the position included several exceptional candidates with local ties.

“I am pleased that we had such local interest in the position,” Barefoot said in the prepared statement. “It speaks well for the quality of fire protection service in this area.”

The position had been vacant since Earnest Bess resigned in July. Bess was arrested for driving under the influence on the morning of June 2.

His blood-alcohol level was so elevated the statutory finding was a Level 4 DWI, up from the minimum Level 5 first-time DWI. He had no prior DWIs on his record.

Bess resigned July 12 and made a plea agreement Aug. 22. Oxford Police Chief John Wolford served as interim fire chief while the search was conducted to find a replacement.

Cottrell’s annual salary will be $55,187. He will direct a department consisting of nine full-time firefighters, 32 part-time personnel and more than 40 volunteers.

Cottrell’s wife, Stacey, is a school nurse at Kerr-Vance Academy. The couple has two children, Lexi, 11, and Landon, 7, both students at Kerr-Vance.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.