Northamptonshire set to have third chief fire office in a month, after 'friendship' controversy

Nicci Marzec has stepped down as Northamptonshire's chief fire officer following speculation about her friendship with police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold. Credit: Northamptonshire PFCC.
Nicci Marzec quit over her friendship with Stephen Mold

The third leader of a county's fire and rescue service in just a month is to be confirmed in post next week.

Simon Tuhill will become Northamptonshire's interim chief fire officer on Thursday at a meeting of the county's police, fire and crime panel.

He only joined the service himself last week, having joined initially as deputy chief fire officer from Hertfordshire's fire and rescue service.

It comes after Nicci Marzec stepped down as fire chief following speculation over her friendship with the county's fire and police commissioner.

She spent less than a fortnight in the post after becoming acting chief fire officer after predecessor Mark Jones quit for "health reasons", and she was expected to stay in the role until a permanent replacement could be found.

Simon Tuhill served with the London Fire Brigade for 22 years and was involved in responses to major incidents such as the 7/7 bombings. Credit: Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service

Concerns had been raised about the her suitability and background - having never worked as a firefighter and or held an operational role with the service.

She would have been on the equivalent of around £139,000 a year.

After questions were raised about the acting fire chief's relationship with Stephen Mold - the police, fire and crime commissioner for the county - he said it was no longer possible for Ms Marzec to carry out her job.

Some panel members were left furious when they were not asked to approve Ms Marzec's appointment before or after it was made.

One, Anita Shields, said on Wednesday that Mr Mold's position was "untenable".

Mr Tuhill has extensive firefighting experience. He started his career in London, where he worked for 22 years.

He was involved in the response to major incidents including the Paddington rail crash in 1999, the 7/7 bombings in 2005 and the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

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