The Godfrey Fire Protection District has a new chief. Former Chief John Sowders announced his retirement earlier this year with his last day on the job April 30. Captain Erik Kambarian will be the new chief as of May 1. The 32 year old began working as a volunteer firefighter with Godfrey in 2005.
Kambarian is a 2000 graduate of Granite City High School, and graduated from Iowa State University in 2004. He also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserves. He was formally approved for the job during the Godfrey Fire Protection District Board of Trustees meeting last night. Following the announcement, Chief Sowders was invited to give a final inspection of the members of the department, who stood at attention as he greeted each member for the final time as chief. Sowders served for 29 years with the Alton Fire Department, including holding the position as chief. He has been chief in Godfrey since 2008. Also last night, Lt. Jake Ringering was promoted to Captain, and firefighter Ben Hamberg was promoted to Lieutenant.