New Ashland Fire & Rescue Chief John Karns worked for the Beverly Hills Fire Department for 25 years, rising through the ranks from firefighter to deputy fire chief.

New Ashland Fire & Rescue Chief John Karns worked for the Beverly Hills Fire Department for 25 years, rising through the ranks from firefighter to deputy fire chief.

He lived in Newbury Park, a community about 45 minutes outside Beverly Hills. He said few employees of the city of Beverly Hills could afford to live there. Karns is renting a home in Ashland.

His wife, Ramona, is a registered nurse in home health care. His son works full-time as a paramedic in California while taking a full load of classes to get a history degree. He already has a two-year degree in fire and paramedic science.

Karns' daughter is a biology major. His youngest son starts college this fall.

Karns said his kids are living at home and his wife is going back and forth between Ashland and California.

"She's splitting her time between here and there while the kids are finishing school. The idea is to make sure the house remains standing," he joked.

Former Ashland Fire & Rescue Chief Keith Woodley retired in December 2008 after working in the fire service for 38 years — almost 18 of those in Ashland.