Who We Are
Chief Steve Sims
Chief Steve Sims watched his own home burn to the ground at age 4, and decided then he was going to be a firefighter.
Sims started with Bella Vista Fire Department in 1995, after receiving his certificate paramedic license in 1991. He has been chief of the department since 2007. During his time working his way up the ranks, he earned associate degrees in Fire Science and Paramedic Science from NorthWest Arkansas Community College, a bachelor’s degree in 2005 and a master’s degree in 2009, both in Emergency Management, from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Ark.
Today, he leads BVFD employees and maintains his certification as a Paramedic, and also in other emergency areas, including Advanced Medical Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support and Fire.
During his tenure as chief, he has successfully managed the transition of the fire operations from the Property Owner’s Association to the city, and also the EMS operations from the former Bella Vista Ambulance Service to the city. He assisted in advocating for a city sales tax increase in 2009 and a millage increase in 2014 to hire more personnel, started the city’s fire inspection program, ordered the city’s first ladder truck, planned the city’s fourth fire station, and started the Community Paramedic Pilot Program in conjunction with Mercy Health.
Deputy Chief Bryan Wolfgang
Deputy Chief Bryan Wolfgang serves as second-in-command of the department.
Wolfgang has been with the department since 1985, as a paramedic and firefighter. He moved through the ranks to lieutenant and then captain, and then battalion chief in 2006. In April 2014, he was named Deputy Chief.
Wolfgang is heavily involved in fleet maintenance, and is a certified pump truck and vehicle technician. He takes command if necessary at emergency scenes such as fires, vehicle wrecks or medical emergencies.
Deputy Chief Robert Hamilton
Deputy Chief Robert Hamilton serves as third-in-command of the department.
Hamilton has been with the department since 1995, after serving as a firefighter in the United States Air Force for four years. During his service, he was a firefighter/EMT at Andrews Air Force base in Maryland and was also deployed to South Korea, Egypt, Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield.
He started as an EMT at Bella Vista in 1995, then earned his paramedic license in 1999. He moved into a supervisory role at a Lieutenant in 2009, which would be today's Captain rank. In 2011, he was promoted to Battalion Chief over B-Shift.
Hamilton oversees all EMS operations in the department, including training. He is responsible for maintaining relationships with local hospitals and agencies in the area.
Our Firefighters/Emergency Medical Teams and Office Personnel
Firefighters, who also serve as emergency medical teams, operate Bella Vista Fire Department’s four fire stations 24 hours a day, seven days a week in three different shifts.
Each shift consists of paid firefighters, who are all either licensed EMTs or paramedics and answer the department’s medical calls. The firefighters are assigned to one of the four fire stations in Bella Vista:
- Station No. 1 in Town Center is manned with seven people, along with command staff and administration.
- Station No. 2 on the east side near Metfield is manned with three people.
- Station No. 3 in the Highlands is manned with four people.
- Station No. 4 near the Highlands Gate is manned with four people.
Bella Vista is a Firewise Community
Since 2002, Bella Vista has re-certified annually as a Firewise Community. This means we take steps to reduce the risk of wildfire in our community, including keeping vegetation controlled in areas we can (like on the dams), helping residents protect their homes and educating the public on ways they can put safety measures in place on their properties to mitigate the risk of fire, such as clearing fallen leaves away from residential structures. In return, the NFPA provides funds each year so that we can continue this program. To learn more, visit http://firewise.org/.