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With the retirement of Kannapolis Fire Chief Ernie Hiers, Rick Barnhardt has been named Interim Fire Chief.

Rick Barnhardt has been with the Kannapolis Fire Department for 22 years. He has worked his way up the ranks in the department and most recently served as Division Chief.

“Rick is a very talented and dedicated member of our Fire Department. I have complete confidence in him to continuing to lead the department during this period of transition,” commented Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg.

Barnhardt started as a volunteer firefighter, at age 16, with the Royal Oaks Fire Department. Royal Oaks which later became part of the Kannapolis Fire Department as Kannapolis Station Three. He worked with the Salisbury Fire Department from 1992 until 1997, when he was hired as one of the first full-time firefighters for the Kannapolis Fire Department. Barnhardt was promoted to Captain in 2000, Battalion Chief in 2006, and Division Chief in 2007.

He has completed many professional training certifications with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, the N.C. Department of Insurance, the National Fire Academy, and the North Carolina Board of Electrical Examiners. His fields of study include incident command, hazardous materials, confined space rescue, fire service management, work place safety and incident safety officer. He will lead a staff of over 80 professional firefighters and administrative personnel.

Barnhardt is a native of Cabarrus County and graduated from Northwest Cabarrus High School.