OFD Chief Mark Heath resigns

Published 10:30 am Friday, August 31, 2018

Oxford Fire Department Chief Mark Heath has resigned his position effective Sept. 5.

Heath, who is just shy of his two-year anniversary with the department, began working for OFD on Nov. 1, 2016. Regarding the reasons he chose to leave the position, Heath said there were three key factors: his health, work environment and his family.

“Over the course of this summer, I experienced a health-related issue back in the first part of August. That definitely got my attention,” Heath said. “I’m still working with a cardiologist and pulmonologist. I’m back and okay, but those are things that give you pause and make you consider life issues.”

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In terms of work, Heath explained being on-call 24 hours a day, every day, was an unnecessary stress, and something that kept him away from his wife, Debbie, and her mother, who is currently experiencing dementia-related issues.

When it came to weighing his priorities, Heath said he knew he needed to put his family first.

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill said she was proud of the time and effort Heath devoted to OFD.

“He has served Oxford well and has led the Oxford Fire Department to expand our Emergency Response Team and provide a much needed additional service to our community,” Tannehill said. “We are sad to see him go.”

During his tenure as fire chief, Heath helped implement the EMT and Paramedics Incentive program, which certified more firefighters to provide first-response medical care. Through the federal Assistance to Firefighters grant, Heath helped save the City approximately $267,000.

After his last day on Sept. 5, Heath said he will transition into a more standard Monday through Friday job either in Memphis or Middle Tennessee.