Fire Chief


John Lehman

Fire Chief




John Lehman was selected as Grand Rapids Fire Chief on June 27, 2016.


Chief Lehman came to Grand Rapids with 32 years of experience in the fire service. Most recently, he served as the Fire Chief in the City of Aurora, Illinois – a position he held since 2013. Aurora is the second largest city in Illinois, like Grand Rapids is in Michigan. It also has a similar diverse population totaling 200,000.

Lehman has a strong reputation for fairness and diplomacy in his leadership. He has strong vision for the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

"One of the main goals for any government is to provide for the safety of their citizens,” he says. “My vision for the Grand Rapids Fire Department is to ensure that we have a highly motivated and cohesive workforce focused on superior training and prevention in order to handle the demands of a metropolitan Fire Agency charged with protecting 200,000 people. I will strive to maintain the fittest level of equipment and utilize the latest in technology in order to provide the high quality level of protection that the citizens of Grand Rapids deserve.”

Lehman plans to enhance the Grand Rapids Fire Department’s community education efforts. This includes:

  • Fire safety for older adults and their caregivers
  • Bilingual fire education
  • Focus on college fire safety
  • Increase education on carbon monoxide safety

He also plans to boost transparency in recruitment and hiring of firefighters. He wants to increase the number of females and people of color in his department.