UPPER MARLBORO – On June 6, the Prince George’s County Council voted unanimously to confirm Acting Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale as Prince George's County's 12th fire chief.
Barksdale became acting fire chief on March 1 after then-Fire Chief Marc Bashoor retired following six years as chief.
On June 20, 2011, Barksdale joined the Prince George's County Fire Department as the deputy fire chief after he retired as an assistant fire chief with the Arlington County Fire Department in Virginia. Since being with the Prince George’s County Fire Department, Barksdale served as Administrative Services and Emergency Services Commander until being appointed Chief Deputy Fire Chief, the second highest position within the department.
“This is a great day,” Barksdale said. “A day I always dreamt of because of all the support I had throughout years. I was able to achieve this goal to service Prince George's County.”
Barksdale has a Master of Science degree in Management and also served as Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Senior Operations Chiefs Committee. He is also a member of the Nation’s Capital Incident Management Team.
Barksdale played a key role in the department's apparatus replacement program and the updating of the entire inventory of self-contained breathing apparatus.
“I could not find a better person to head the Prince George's County Fire Emergency Services then Chief Barksdale, who has over 35 years of fire service experience,” said Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, III.
Barksdale said he is planning to increase staffing in several fire stations from four to five firefighters and will be adding a 24-hour career Battalion Fire Chief to the Brandywine, Accokeek and Baden areas.
“To improve our fleet, we are purchasing five new engines, a ladder truck and 13 ambulances,” Barksdale said. “They should be in within the next 12 months. We are also placing a new hazardous material unit in service soon.”
Barksdale, along with his wife of 23 years, Sandra, and 19-year-old daughter, Olivia, reside in Prince George’s County.