Veteran Anne Arundel County firefighter Michael E. Cox Jr. was named acting fire chief Wednesday, following the retirement of Chief John Robert Ray.

"Chief Cox has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to personal and professional development and brings a level of energy to the position that is critical to our county's future," County Executive Laura Neuman said in a prepared statement.

Cox, a division chief with more than 25 years of experience in career firefighting, has held numerous positions throughout the department.

The search for a permanent chief is underway, county officials said.

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