Westlake Fire Department will have a new chief for the first time in 14 years as Richard Whitten retired as the head of the department at the end of August.

The background

Whitten served for more than 41 years in the fire service industry. He began as Westlake’s fire chief and emergency management coordinator in May 2009, according to a news release.

What they're saying

“Under his leadership, the department became a progressive, highly credible and leading emergency services organization,” the release states.

Deputy Chief John Ard is currently serving as Westlake’s interim fire chief, said Erin Spicer, communications manager for the town. He will be sworn in as the new chief at the Sept. 25 Town Council meeting. WFD has 20 full-time employees, Spicer said.

Career history

Whitten, who served as interim fire chief with the city of Keller from April 2021 to August 2022, was shift commander from 2005-09 and a firefighter/paramedic from 2004-05 for Westlake. Prior to coming to Westlake, Whitten was firefighter II/paramedic from 1993-2004 for the city of Euless and was a shift commander from 1986-92 and a volunteer firefighter from 1982-86 for the city of Azle.