Barrington hires new fire chief - Grayslake's

Barrington officials announced Thursday the hire of John Christian as the village's new fire chief, effective next month.

Christian comes to Barrington from the Grayslake Fire Protection District, where he's been chief since 2009. He replaces Jim Arie, who retired as Barrington's fire chief in March after leading the department since 2003.

"As Barrington's new fire chief, I'm most looking forward to leading the talented firefighter/paramedics and officers of the department," Christian said in a statement. "I am confident we can accomplish great things together to serve the residents of the village of Barrington."

Christian started 33 years ago at the Grayslake fire district, which covers about 25 square miles in Grayslake, Third Lake, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach and unincorporated areas of Lake County. He has experience in heading a fire department that sometimes must navigate train blockages to handle emergency calls - a longtime issue in Barrington.

Concerns continue about stopped or slow Canadian National Railway freight trains blocking major thoroughfares in Grayslake and Center Street in the village's downtown. Christian has said his firefighters and paramedics at the downtown Grayslake station regularly contend with blocked intersections.

In Barrington, Arie was known for promoting the need for a Northwest Highway underpass at the CN tracks near Lake Zurich Road. He stressed how the underpass would eliminate train blockages for ambulances trying to reach Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Lake Barrington.

Barrington Village Manager Scott Anderson said an extensive search was conducted before officials chose Christian, who starts July 6.

Anderson said Christian "rose to the top as someone who will bring high-quality leadership, extensive experience and the credentials to lead the Barrington Fire Department's outstanding first responders into the future."

Christian is a past president of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and served in the Illinois Army National Guard 1/131st Infantry, where he was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1994. He was a 15-year Grayslake fire district captain when he replaced longtime chief Donald Mobley in 2009.

  Grayslake Fire Protection District Chief John Christian on the scene of a major call in 2015. Bob Susnjara/, 2015
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