Phil Welch, director of the Regional Emergency Services Training Center at Gaston College, has been named Gastonia's new fire chief.
He replaces Kenneth Lay, who resigned in October to become fire chief in Fishers, Ind., northwest of Indianapolis.
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A 29-year veteran of fire service and a former Gastonia Fire Department employee, Welch was selected from a group of six finalists including internal and outside candidates, according to a city news release.
He will take over the leadership of the city's 140-member fire department on March 16.