Arlington Heights fire chief leaving for job in Schaumburg

Arlington Heights Fire Chief Ken Koeppen is set to step down next week and take a new job as deputy chief of administration with the Schaumburg Fire Department, officials announced Tuesday.

Koeppen joined the Arlington Heights Fire Department in February 1980 as a firefighter, and worked his way up to become a lieutenant in 1995, then battalion chief in 1998, deputy chief in 2005 and chief in 2014. He is Arlington Heights' fifth chief since the department changed from a volunteer to a full-time paid department in 1958.

His retirement takes effect Thursday, Nov. 15. Village Manager Randy Recklaus appointed Deputy Chief Andrew Larson as acting fire chief, overseeing a department of 110 employees and four divisions: administrative, fire suppression, emergency medical and training. Officials say they will conduct a search for a permanent successor by evaluating both internal and external candidates.

Village officials pointed to Koeppen's role in starting the Rescue Task Force project, which will train firefighters in addressing risks associated with active shooter incidents, and the department's role in a village program launched this year to battle the opioid epidemic.

"Chief Koeppen's level of commitment to the Village of Arlington Heights has been outstanding," Recklaus wrote in a statement Tuesday. "We are very appreciative of Ken's service with the village, especially for his leadership. Ken's style was that of a team-builder who earned the trust and loyalty of his department, and the respect of his peers and the community. His expertise, reliability and impressive dedication to the village and the Arlington Heights Fire Department has positively impacted essential services provided to our community."

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