Morgantown fire chief retires after 31 years of service

After decades of service with the Morgantown Fire Department, Chief Eugene Deem retired Friday, following an official announcement from the City of Morgantown earlier this week. 

Deem joined the department in 1993 and has served the Morgantown community for 31 years. 

He took over the role of chief in 2021, following the retirement of former chief Mark Caravasos, and for three years has retained his position as the department head. 

“Through decades of leadership, education and unwavering commitment to the fire service, Chief Deem has shaped a legacy of professionalism and knowledge that will continue to inspire generations of firefighters,” said Morgantown City Manager Kim Haws.  

“He has dedicated his life to the safety of the citizens and visitors of Morgantown, and for that, on behalf of the entire city, I thank him.” 

A new chief has yet to be announced, but Capt. John Lemley has been appointed as the interim fire chief and will oversee the administrative services for the department until a permanent chief is appointed.  

“Interim Chief Lemley brings solid experience to this role, having served this community in all ranks within the organization, including three years in a captain role,” stated Haws. “With a proven track record of dedication to public safety and commitment to excellence, Lemley is well-positioned to lead the Morgantown Fire Department during this critical transition.” 

Lemley said he is interested in taking on the role permanently, but that has yet to be decided and is traditionally determined by a competitive civil service test.  

“It’s something I’ve aspired to throughout my career,” he said, “and if that worked out, that’d be grand.” 

According to Lemley, Deem humbly requested no parties or fanfare to mark his retirement, but said the department recognizes and appreciates his years of dedicated service. 

“He’s always been a strong supporter of all of our personnel. He’s worked hard to help us make gains and progress,” the new interim chief said. “I’m a firm believer that he’s always had the best interest of our guys in the forefront of his mind.” 

TWEET @DominionPostWV