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Police and fire

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St. Joseph Township picks new fire chief

– St. Joseph Fire Rescue Corp. has a new leader, one week after township officials decided to restructure the township fire department.

Timothy B. Jones, a 25-year veteran of the department, will take the reins beginning Tuesday. Jones will replace current Fire Chief Jerry Lencke.

Last week, members of the township advisory board agreed to form St. Joseph Fire Rescue Corp., which will be under the control of township Trustee Richard Uhrick.

Jones, born and raised in Fort Wayne, decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, Thomas Jones, and brother Robert Jones and join the department more than two decades ago.

Becoming the chief is something he’s always dreamed of doing, Jones said.

“It’s something that I’ve worked toward for a long time with schooling and so forth,” he said.

Throughout his time on the department, Jones has held positions including lieutenant, captain and division chief for fire prevention.

In his new position, his first challenge will be recruiting volunteers to serve on the newly formed St. Joseph Fire Rescue Corp.

Applications are available at or at the trustee’s office, 6033 Maplecrest Road.

Jones said he’s pleased with the plans for reorganizing the department and looks forward to having a structure similar to the Fort Wayne or New Haven fire departments.

“It’s something that’s needed to be done in the past; it just never got done,” he said.

Uhrick said Jones is “easily one of the most well-credentialed fire chiefs to ever serve St. Joseph Township.”

Along with a variety of firefighting certifications, Jones is a certified fire instructor and can provide other firefighters information they otherwise would have had to take classes for, according to Uhrick.

“He doesn’t get tired. He’s up early in the morning and goes to bed late,” the township trustee said.

“His experience, leadership abilities and ‘can-do’ attitude are what was needed to reorganize the department and see that fire protection for the residents of the unincorporated area of St. Joseph Township is top-notch.”