Fire Dept. names new leader after loss of beloved Chief Ed Switalski

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COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Three months after Chief Ed Switalski was tragically killed in the line of duty, a successor has been named to take his place. The township board voted 5-0 Monday night to promote Switalski’s friend and colleague Matt Beauchamp as the new fire chief.

“I feel really good about it,” said Beauchamp during an interview at the station on Michigan Avenue. “We’ve had a really strong department even before the incident with Chief Switalski.”

Chief Ed, as everyone called him, was hit and killed in mid-June when he was investigating a crash on Interstate 94. Authorities said he was hit from behind by a vehicle that was speeding past the scene. The driver has since been charged with reckless driving causing death and is looking at 15 years in prison.

“Really, it’s his outgoing personality,” said Beauchamp about what he missed most about Chief Ed. “He was such a people person, so easy to work with.”

Since Switalski’s death, Beauchamp’s been the acting fire chief. He said Chief Ed’s loss hit the department hard but they haven’t ‘missed a beat’ operationally. Everyone from the line officers to the administrative staff have stepped up to make sure there's no gap in service.

“We worked hand-in-hand and actually really well together throughout his tenure here,” said Beauchamp. “It does mean a lot to me to continue to beat the drum of the stuff that he had started and the stuff I know he wanted to continue working on in the future.”

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