Fire Chief James B. Harmes began his career in the Fire Service in 1972. Jim was a college student who wanted to help his local community. After 13 years of being a “part-time” firefighter, Jim started his career in the City of Burton at the MI Fire Department, outside of Flint.

After 4 years, he was selected to run the Grand Blanc Fire Department in 1989. He served that community for 25.5 years. Jim was incredibly active in the years he was Fire Chief. He was President of the Southeastern Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs in 1993, the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs in 1996 and the International Association of Fire Chiefs in 2006. Jim was a fire investigator for many years, worked the City of Flint's “Devils Night” on numerous occasions. This is when numerous fires occurred on a single night.

Chief Harmes retired from fire service in June of 2014, after more than 42 years. Chief Harmes was an instructor at numerous colleges and Eastern Michigan University. As President of the IAFC, he spoke at many events and in front of Congress a number of times.

He works with  1-800-BOARD UP


The mission of 1-800-BOARDUP is to assist organizations who share our commitment to helping victims of disaster.