New battalion chief named at St. Clair Shores Fire Department

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 29, 2019

 New Battalion Chief Randy Vesper is pinned by his father, Larry Vesper, the former fire chief of the Kenockee, Michigan, Fire Department during a ceremony Aug. 26 at St. Clair Shores Central Fire Station.

New Battalion Chief Randy Vesper is pinned by his father, Larry Vesper, the former fire chief of the Kenockee, Michigan, Fire Department during a ceremony Aug. 26 at St. Clair Shores Central Fire Station.

Photo provided by Fire Marshal M. Bodnar

 Outgoing Battalion Chief Chris Krotche, left, shakes hands with Fire Chief James Piper upon Krotche’s retirement.

Outgoing Battalion Chief Chris Krotche, left, shakes hands with Fire Chief James Piper upon Krotche’s retirement.

Photo provided by Fire Marshal M. Bodnar

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — The St. Clair Shores Fire Department said goodbye to one of its longtime members while promoting another Aug. 26.

Former Battalion Chief Chris Krotche served 24 years in St. Clair Shores before his August retirement. He had also worked for the Grosse Pointe Woods Public Safety Department and a private EMS company before coming to St. Clair Shores.

Now he’s taking on a new challenge as the fire chief for Armada Township.

“I have something left in me. (It was) just something I fell into and was kind of neat,” he said.

But Krotche said he appreciated all the experience he got in St. Clair Shores.

“It’s an incredible department, and I will miss it every day,” he said.

Filling his spot as battalion chief will be Randy Vesper, who was a lieutenant before his promotion.

St. Clair Shores Fire Chief James Piper explained that each battalion chief in the department is responsible for one-third of the department, and also takes on the care of either buildings, equipment or trucks. Krotche was in charge of building maintenance, so Vesper will be responsible for that as well, “making sure our buildings continue to last us for another 70 to 90 years,” Piper said.

Although the promotion was based on seniority with the department, Piper said, “I’m super excited because Chief Vesper, he came to us ... with some experience in EMS prior to coming here and also did some volunteer firefighting beforehand.

“He brought some knowledge with him and has taken that and built on that in the years he’s been with us.”

Vesper joined the St. Clair Shores Fire Department in February 1996.

“He’s just a sharp and very responsible person,” Piper said. “I know he’s got the skills ... to do a great job for us.”

Vesper said that he’s looking forward to the challenge of being a battalion chief.

“I’m looking forward to ... moving up and (the) additional responsibilities of battalion chief, running the shift and all the other responsibilities that go with that,” he said.

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