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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The fire chief of southwestern Illinois' Belleville is retiring after nearly three decades with the department.

The Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/1fa9PBH) says 53-year-old Scott Lanxon will step down Feb. 3, having spent more than six years as fire chief in the city of 44,000 residents. He's been with the department for 28 years.

Lanxon says it's time for someone else to lead things forward with fresh ideas.

Under Lanxon's watch, Belleville's fire department created battalion chief positions, added four firefighters, switched to better technology, expanded training opportunities and bought about four trucks and two rescue boats.

Belleville's department has 63 firefighters and two civilian employees.

Lanxon says he looks forward to spending his first year of retirement volunteering.

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Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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