The deadline for candidates to apply to be the next chief of the Owensboro Fire Department was Friday, and the city received more than 40 applicants for the position, city officials said Tuesday.

Already, officials have narrowed the field to six to eight applicants. The next step is to bring candidates to town for interviews with a goal of making a job offer in October.

Fire Chief Steve Mitchell, who has been chief since 2008, announced in August his intention to retire. Mitchell said he plans to leave city service either in November or December.

Mitchell said Tuesday that the city received 43 applicants for the job. The candidates included "at least three internal" applicants from OFD, he said.

"They were from everywhere, from New York to Utah to everywhere in between," Mitchell said.

City Human Resources Manager Josh Bachmeier said the city also received applicants from places such as Nevada and the Midwest. "It was a national recruitment," he said.

"I was expecting from 40 to 50" applicants, Bachmeier said.

The qualifications for the OFD chief's position would likely resonate with firefighters in leadership positions at other departments "where (becoming) the chief would be the next step," but the current chief is years from retirement, Bachmeier said.

A committee has already reviewed the applications. "We had a screening panel tasked with whittling them down ... to get them down to a manageable level for interviews," Bachmeier said.

The selected applicants will be sent to City Manager Nate Pagan for his approval, and then interviews will be set up with the finalists.

"We are pretty much finished up" with the screening, Bachmeier said. "Typically, we'll interview between four an eight. I don't see the need to interview more than that.

"I think the committee, overall, was impressed," Bachmeier said. "I have no concerns at all" about the finalists, he said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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