Rochester City Council selects new Fire Chief

Battalion Chief Eric Kerska has been named by the Rochester City Council as the next Fire Chief of the City of Rochester.

Kerska has been with Rochester Fire Department since 1994, and in his current role since 2009. He will replace Fire Chief Greg Martin when he retires end of June.

Several council members noted that the Council does not always hire from within but were said they were fortunate to have two well-qualified candidates from RFD. 

Mayor Ardell Brede said although he could not vote on the hiring of the fire chief he said he fully supports the appointment of Kersa.

Kerska was one of two current City of Rochester employees who were named as finalists for the position by the Fire Civil Service Commission. Deputy Chief Vance Swisher was the other finalist for this position. 

Following the naming of the finalists, an employee forum was held with all members of the RFD invited as well as final interviews. At the conclusion of these steps, a recommendation was brought to the City Council for Kerska’s appointment, which was approved at Monday’s Council meeting.

Prior to taking on the role of Battalion Chief, Kerska spent nine years as a Fire Captain and six years as a Firefighter. His educational background includes an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Sciences from John Woods College, a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Winona State University, and a Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. Kerska also served in the Army National Guard from 1983 – 2015, including service in Iraq and Kuwait, retiring as a Colonel.

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