New fire chief Ventris Green prepared to take helm of department

Published 12:03 am Sunday, March 10, 2019


NATCHEZ — Natchez’s new fire chief is well prepared for the position, having served in the role as acting fire chief since August.

The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen unanimously agreed to hire Ventris Green as the city’s new fire chief based on a recommendation from Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell during a Feb. 26 meeting of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

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Green said he takes the responsibility seriously, and it is a position for which he feels he well prepared.

Green has worked as a firefighter for 22 years and is a veteran of Desert Storm.

Green also is a licensed emergency medical technician who worked more than five years for AMR ambulance service, served as fire/ambulatory chief at Alcorn State University for four years and holds a commercial driver’s license with hazmat endorsement. Green also holds fire chief 1 and 2 certifications along with many more fire classes under his belt.

Green had been serving as Natchez’s acting fire chief since August when former Natchez Fire Chief Aaron Wesley was placed on administrative leave after undisclosed complaints were filed against him in the city’s human resources department. Wesley later announced his retirement Oct. 12 from the department after 37 years.

Green said he takes the role of Natchez’s fire chief seriously.

“First, I want to give thanks to God,” Green said of being named fire chief. “Foremost, I thank the mayor and board of aldermen for having the trust for installing me in that position.”

Green said he has learned a great deal from serving the past six months in the position of acting fire chief, including going through the budgeting process.

“It is a demanding job and a very stressful job,” Green said. “I’ve had a lot of support. People come up and say, ‘We hope you will take this job.’”

Green said he also learned from the experience of helping the city purchase a new $1 million ladder fire truck, which was necessary to help the city maintain a 5 fire rating.

The fire truck is on order now and should be delivered to the city by June, Green said.

One of the goals Grennell said he gave Green when he appointed Green to the position of acting fire chief was to help maintain and even improve the city fire insurance rating.

“He took priority to make sure the ladder truck would meet specifications,” Grennell said. “He has a plan of action to improve the city’s rating. I’ve given him that charge, to get that rating improved.”

Green said he is focused on improving the fire rating and on improving firefighter recruitment and retention in the department.

When Green took the acting chief’s position in August, he said the department had 15 openings in the 57-person department. Now the department has only five openings, Green said.

Green said he plans to continue to work with Adams County to serve the city and the county’s fire needs and he has reached out to Vidalia’s fire chief to build a working relationship.

“Our No. 1 priority,” Green said, “is lifesaving, taking care of our firefighters’ lives and citizens’ lives. Our second priority is property conservation.”

Under Green’s tenure as acting fire chief, the Natchez Fire Department battled a September fire at the historic Prentiss Club building in downtown Natchez and managed to save much of the structure.

“Ventris received my recommendation and unanimous approval from aldermen based on interviews conducted for the fire chief position,” Grennell said. “He has done and excellent job in serving as a chief for the department. His leadership skills have been a great help to the city.”