A first for Liberty Twp.: Booming community sees appointment of fire marshal

LIBERTY TWP. —The latest symbol of Liberty Twp.’s maturation as one of the region’s fastest growing communities was recently pinned onto the chest of Fire Department Lt. Matthew Owen.

Late last month, Owen took part in a ceremony during a Liberty Twp. Trustees’ meeting where he was announced as the township’s first fire marshal.

Liberty Twp. is Butler County’s second-fastest growing community after Monroe, and U.S. Census stats show the now more than 45,000 residents grew by 18.1% in residents from 2010 to 2020.

Moreover, the growing number and sophistication of business and medical structures in recent years, said Liberty Twp. Fire Chief Ethan Klussman, clarified the need for a fire marshal.

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Klussman pinned Owen, a Liberty Twp. fire official veteran, with the Fire Marshal’s uniform stripes and praised him as the right person for the historically new job.

“Matt is very detail oriented and has always shared a passion for fire safety and public education. He was a natural fit for the Fire Marshal role and I view this new position as vital to responding to the community’s growth and to providing quality, efficient services to our residents and businesses,” said Klussman.

In Ohio’s communities, fire marshals handle complex building-safety and fire code inspections as well as designing and presenting fire prevention programs, analyzing fire-related criminal evidence, investigating the cause and origin of fires and explosions, training firefighters and providing fire safety education to business among other duties.

Owen’s annual fire marshal salary is $88,500.

Fire marshals are essential for a booming community like Liberty Twp., said Klussman.

“As we continue to grow, we found that we were kind of deficient in those areas. This gives us the ability to be more consistent with our (buildings’) plan review and have somebody dedicated to that and helping businesses get to where they need to be and help walk them through the fire code,” he said.

Owen is a veteran of the Liberty Twp. Fire Det. with 25 years of service to the community as a lieutenant and career firefighter/paramedic. He is a Lakota High School and Cincinnati State graduate. He also served four years in the United States Army following high school before starting his fire service career in 1998 with the department.

“I’m excited to be the very first Fire Marshal for LTFD and look forward to developing this role to best serve the department, Township and community,” said Owen.

“I’ll miss the daily shift work with my crew but am happy to continue working alongside so many phenomenal LTFD members,” said Owen.

With Owen’s promotion to Fire Marshal, a lieutenant opening was created within the department. Township officials said Nick Duffy will join the officer ranks after serving four years as a career firefighter/paramedic for the Liberty department.

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