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Riverdale appoints first female fire chief

The City of Riverdale has appointed the first female chief over its fire department, officials said.

B. Nishiyama Willis was appointed Jan. 10, said Riverdale City Manager Iris Jessie. Willis is the first female fire chief in the city's 104-year history.

"Our entire city management team is excited to welcome Chief Willis to the Riverdale team," said Jessie. "She has shown incredible passion and experience for the position, and we are confident she will lead the department to new heights as it serves our growing community."

Willis has a Bachelors Degree in fire administration, and is working toward her Master of Science Degree in public administration, at Georgia State University. She is an adjunct faculty member with the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., an adjunct instructor at DeKalb Technical College, and a certified fire instructor at the Georgia State Fire Academy.

Prior to coming to Riverdale, Willis served as deputy fire chief of airport operations with the Atlanta Fire-Rescue Department. She has more than 33 years of experience in fire service. In addition to overseeing a $23 million airport enterprise fund, Willis supervised the airport division that includes airport administrative services, airport training, airport inspections, airport emergency medical services, three command teams and five fire companies, made up of 232 firefighters, officers and civilians.

–– Kathy Jefcoats