Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (center) announces the retirement of Fire Chief Marc Bashoor (left) during a news conference at the St. Joseph Fire Station in Springdale on Jan. 6. Deputy Chief Benjamin Barksdale (right), who will serve as interim chief, is Baker's permanent selection for Bashoor's successor. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (center) announces the retirement of Fire Chief Marc Bashoor (left) during a news conference at the St. Joseph Fire Station in Springdale on Jan. 6. Deputy Chief Benjamin Barksdale (right), who will serve as interim chief, is Baker's permanent selection for Bashoor's successor. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Marc Bashoor, Prince George’s County’s second-longest serving fire chief, announced Friday he will retire and move to Florida to be closer to family.

Bashoor, 51, had come out of retirement six years ago to serve as chief of the county’s fire and EMS department, which he first joined more than 30 years ago.

“I have full confidence in my replacement’s ability in moving the department forward,” he said during an announcement ceremony at the St. Joseph Fire Station in Springdale.

The temporary leader will be Deputy Chief Benjamin Barksdale, who’s been with the department since June 2011 after working in Arlington County, Virginia, as an assistant chief.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III will submit Barksdale’s name to the county council for confirmation to lead the 2,200 full- and part-time firefighters, civilian personnel and volunteers.

“The goal of every leader is to leave an organization in better shape when they came in, and Chief Bashoor has hit it out the park,” said Barksdale, 52, who’s lived in Prince George’s for 27 years. “We will continue with those successes … and increase what [Bashoor] started.”

Under the leadership of Bashoor, who came out of his initial retirement when Baker became county executive, the department has increased the department with 420 sworn and civilian personnel and made other notable advancements, including:

• replacement of four ladder trucks at more than $1 million each and 44 ambulances at $250,000 each;

• opening a new $9 million, state-of-the-art fire station in Brandywine in August 2015; and

• the establishment of a cadet academy four years ago for 11th- and 12th-graders at Gwynn Park and Charles H. Flowers high schools to learn basic fire and emergency safety. Afterward, the students can receive 15 college credits and consideration for an entry-level firefighter position.

Bashoor said Friday the department’s leadership academy will be known as the Chief Jim Esteep School of Leadership and Excellence, named for the man who served as the county’s longest fire chief of 14 years.

Meanwhile, the International Association of Fire Chiefs has submitted Bashoor’s name to the Trump administration for a possible federal appointment.

Bashoor posted on Twitter he will be around Prince George’s “off and on” until March 1 and then relocate to Sebring, Florida, about two hours from his mother.

“There’s always one more thing to do, but when it’s time, it’s time,” he said of his retirement. “I am not leaving under any pressure. I am leaving for myself. I feel very good about that.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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