Meet the Chief and Assistant Chief

Fire Chief

The Harlem Township Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the selection of Thomas O’Brien to
lead the Harlem Township Fire Department as its next Fire Chief.  Chief  O’Brien succeeds
Acting Fire Chief Michael McKeen.
After a comprehensive search, the Trustees unanimously agreed that Chief O’Brien’s experience and education made him the best choice to continue to guide the department.
Harlem Township Trustee Chairman Dave Jackson said, “We believe the wealth of knowledge and experience Chief O’Brien brings with him will be instrumental as we prepare for the potential growth our community is facing.”
Chief O’Brien will be sworn in on Wednesday, January 18th as part of the monthly Trustee Meeting,
held at the Administrative Offices at 3883 S. State Route 605, Galena.
Prior to joining Harlem Township Fire, Chief O’Brien was Chief of the Liberty Township Fire Department for
five and half years. Before that, he worked for the Newark Fire Department for 31 years, serving in a variety
of roles, including paramedic, hazardous materials coordinator and compliance and operations chief.
Chief O’Brien teaches fire training at C-TEC of Licking County and previously taught fire science at Hocking
College in Nelsonville. He has a bachelor’s degree from Franklin University in public safety management and 
a master's degree in public administration from Columbia Southern and is a credentialed fire officer.

Assistant Fire Chief

The Harlem Township Division of Fire welcomed Michael McKeen into the department in May of 1987. Growing up in Pittsburgh and watching his father’s dedication as a volunteer firefighter, Mike, following in his fathers footsteps, joined the fire service in 1981 as a volunteer. His hobby turned into a career in 1989 when he joined the Columbus Division of Fire. Working closely within the Harlem family Mike was promoted to lieutenant and later captain by Chief Dale Fling. With his passion being in the fire service, it led him to become a paramedic, rescue technician, fire instructor, and he obtained an associate’s degree in Fire Science/EMS from Columbus State Community College. He had a brief break when he moved out of the township in 2000, later returning in 2005 as a part time employee when the department began providing staffing on station. In January of 2023, Mike was promoted to Assistant Fire Chief under the direction of Chief O'Brien.