Ogden's youngest battalion chief on Monday became the city's youngest fire chief.

Seventeen-year department veteran Jon R. Williams, 37, took over for retired Chief Joe Murray."I'm pretty speechless today," Williams told fire personnel gathered at Station 1. "I hope to be a strong chief."

City Manager Robert Hunter said Williams was chosen from among eight candidates, all of whom work for the Ogden Fire Department. City officials say he is the youngest person in the department's history to hold the title of chief.

Williams began his career as a firefighter with the city in 1974. He was promoted to engineer in 1983, captain in 1984 and battalion chief in 1988.

Murray technically retired on Jan. 31, but he will remain on duty as a consultant until Friday.

"I believe the department is going to grow and be a better organization," Murray said.

Williams was instrumental in organizing and implementing the department's Emergency Medical Technician program and has personally trained 70 percent of the department's EMTs.

He will get an early test of his management skills on Thursday during a meeting with the City Council to discuss the department's budget along with proposals for the fire department to take over ambulance service in the city.