Fire chief finalists field questions

Feb. 05, 2013 @ 07:50 AM

The field has been narrowed to two men seeking the top job at the Durham Fire Department.

They are Dan Curia, interim chief of the department; and Steven G. Knight, assistant fire chief of St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The finalists fielded questions Monday from an estimated 75 members of the Durham Fire Department during a “meet and greet” at the Durham Solid Waste Management auditorium on Camden Avenue.

The meeting was closed to the public, but sources said it was held in two sessions, each about 90 minutes. Curia’s session lasted from about 8 to 9:30 a.m., and Knight’s from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Curia, 43, joined the Durham Fire Department in 1990. He has been interim chief since Bruce Pagan retired from the chief’s job last fall.

In the past 22 years, Curia has steadily risen through the ranks, and was promoted two years ago to No. 2 job of deputy chief.

Curia was born in Camden, N.J., lived in Philadelphia as a boy and moved to Jacksonville, Fla., where he lived for several years. He then moved to High Point and attended high school there before joining the Durham Fire Department.

Curia has an associate’s degree in applied science and fire protection technology, a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master of science in leadership degree with emphasis on disaster preparedness and executive fire leadership.

Knight has been a member of St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue since 1996, according to the department’s website. He oversees the Operations Division, which includes 312 of the 326 sworn uniformed employees for the department.

The division is responsible for all emergency activity and oversight of the department’s three specialty response teams: Hazardous Materials, Marine Rescue and Technical Rescue.

Knight previously served as Rescue Division chief, as a lieutenant in the Safety & Training Division and a lieutenant at the Master Fire Station.

He has a bachelor’s degree in fire and safety engineering and a master’s degree in public administration.

Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield is expected to name a new chief in the next few weeks.