Arlington Heights has named Deputy Fire Chief Ken Koeppen its Acting Fire Chief effective Friday, officials said.
Koeppen, a 33-year department veteran, recently was credited with helping save the life of Arlington Heights Police Officer Michael McEvoy after he was shot in the face while responding to a domestic dispute late last year. Koeppen happened to be down the street visiting family when shots were fired and provided immediate first aid to McEvoy, who is now recovering at home.
Koeppen will serve as acting fire chief until a new permanent fire chief is appointed. His promotion follows the retirement of Chief Glenn Ericksen, who had been with the department nearly 40 years and served as chief since 2004. Ericksen announced last month that he is moving on to work as a section chief at MABAS -- Illinois Mutual Aid Box Alarm System.
Village officials will conduct a formal search for a replacement fire chief to lead the 110-employee department, but Koeppen said he would be interested in the job.
"If I'm fortunate enough to be chosen, I'm willing to take on the challenge," he said.
Koeppen started his career with the Arlington Heights Fire Department in 1980, was promoted to lieutenant in 1995, commander in 1998 and deputy fire chief in 2005, according to the village.
"I'm excited, I'm looking for a new challenge and this will be a different role for me," Koeppen said.
Koeppen has not spoken much publicly about his part in saving McEvoy's life, which he said is "still pretty fresh," but he did credit the other first responders who were there that night.
"I was in the right place at the right time," Koeppen said. "But everybody out there that night was instrumental in a positive outcome. We pulled together as a team and everything worked out." The shooting began a several-hourlong standoff which only ended when Niles resident Eric M. Anderson, who had stalked his former girlfriend to her mother's townhouse in Arlington Heights and took her hostage, exited the house and pointed a gun at officers, police said. He was shot and killed by SWAT team officers and the woman was unharmed.