The Eastpointe Fire Department promoted Nick Sage, left, to deputy chief and Jason Clark, right, to sergeant at a ceremony Jan. 2 at the department on Nine Mile Road. They were joined by Director of Public Safety George Rouhib, center.

The Eastpointe Fire Department promoted Nick Sage, left, to deputy chief and Jason Clark, right, to sergeant at a ceremony Jan. 2 at the department on Nine Mile Road. They were joined by Director of Public Safety George Rouhib, center.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


Eastpointe Fire Department gets new leadership

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 8, 2019

 Eastpointe firefighter Jason Clark receives his new badge, signifying  his promotion to sergeant, from his wife, Abby, at the ceremony.

Eastpointe firefighter Jason Clark receives his new badge, signifying his promotion to sergeant, from his wife, Abby, at the ceremony.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

 Nick Sage, left, takes the oath of office to become the new deputy chief of the Eastpointe Fire Department Jan. 2 at the Eastpointe Fire Department. City Manager Joseph Sobota, right, administers the oath.

Nick Sage, left, takes the oath of office to become the new deputy chief of the Eastpointe Fire Department Jan. 2 at the Eastpointe Fire Department. City Manager Joseph Sobota, right, administers the oath.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe Fire Department promoted two of its members to leadership positions in a ceremony that took place Jan. 2.

Sgt. Nick Sage was promoted to deputy chief, while firefighter Jason Clark was promoted to sergeant. Because the Fire Department is part of Eastpointe’s Department of Public Safety, this makes Sage the new head of the department with Director of Public Safety George Rouhib being the official leader of both police and fire services for the city.

“Nick is, in essence, the chief here. I primarily just support him with regard to the department,” said Rouhib. “It’s an honor to be working with both gentlemen, and I’m looking forward to a strong 2019 with our Fire Department.”

The pair took part in a ceremony at the firehouse in front of their families, fellow firefighters and community leaders. They each had their badges pinned on by their wives and rang the department’s bell, which has been in service in Eastpointe for more than 90 years.

Sage is stepping in for former Deputy Chief Larry Folkerts, who retired on Dec. 31 after 30 years of service. Sage has served with the department since 2001, and as a full-time firefighter since 2003. Throughout his career, he’s been involved in numerous aspects of department activities, including serving as the department EMS liaison, a member of the fire prevention team and a member of the Eastpointe Goodfellows. He also has served for 12 years on the executive board of the Eastpointe Firefighters Association as both secretary and president.  

“I feel very humbled and grateful to serve as deputy fire chief for Eastpointe,” Sage said. “I think we have an outstanding group of command staff and firefighters to serve our city.”

Clark has been with the Fire Department since 2007 and has received several awards and citations for meritorious duty, including the Mentorship Award, the Lifesaving Award, a unit citation and several letters of appreciation.

“I’m excited to serve the community in this facet of leadership and serve the guys I’m working with,” said Clark.

To find a new leader for the Fire Department, outside experts were called in to impartially test and assess department members for the deputy chief position.

“We called in an outside assessment firm and they interviewed department leadership to perform assessment testing in areas like problem-solving, administration, speaking skills, leadership and expertise,” Rouhib said. “Nick placed No. 1 out of three candidates within the department, so he got the job.”

Rouhib said that promotions such as Clark’s are handled within the department.

“Promotions like Sgt. Clark’s are based on seniority,” he added. “They have to submit their request for promotion yearly. If they meet the requirements, such as having been with the department for at least seven years, they are promoted.”

As deputy chief, Sage will take on the duties of running the department. He also will serve as fire marshal for the city.

“I’m responsible for overall operation of the department, training, planning and general operational duties,” Sage said. “I’ll also be operating as fire marshal, so I’ll handle fire investigations.”

Sergeants in the Eastpointe Fire Department serve an intermediate leadership role, primarily providing direction while out on emergency calls.

“As sergeant, I’ll be working with a couple of guys on a crew,” Clark said. “We have three shifts of seven guys each. … I’ll mostly be going out on medical calls, but with a leadership role, you need to be flexible.”

Sage and Clark both expressed their love for the department and their respect for those they work with, saying that they could not have achieved these advancements without the aid of their fellow department members. 

“These guys work their butts off everyday,” Clark said. “If they’re not going out on calls, they’re training, practicing, maintaining their gear or whatever else.”

Among those who attended the Jan. 2 ceremony was Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley, who expressed her admiration for Sage and Clark, as well as the department as a whole.

“I’m excited,” said Pixley. “This is a great fire department, and they do a great job and have great response times. I think we have a department we can be proud of.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.