A veteran firefighter with over thirty years experience but only five months in Charlottesville has been named as the interim chief of the city’s department.
Michael L. Thomas has been the Deputy Chief of Community Risk Reduction since June 2022 after retiring from the Lynchburg Fire Department. He will succeed Chief Hezedean Smith, who has left to become chief in Polk County, Florida.
“Chief Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and an Associate Degree in Fire Science. He holds certifications as a Fire Inspector, Fire Investigator, Certified LEO, Incident Safety Officer, has attended the National Fire Academy, and is currently enrolled in ICMA’s (International City/County Management Association) Professional Development Academy,” reads a press release with the announcement.
A search for a permanent chief will soon begin.
Last week was Fire Prevention Week and Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers marked the occasion at this week’s City Council meeting. He urged everyone to have a fire escape plan and to have crucial monitoring equipment in place.
“Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half,” Rogers said. “If you need new smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, please call CFD at 434-970-3481 and schedule an installation.”
Rogers also announced the hiring of the city’s first emergency management coordinator. Jeremy Evans is a captain with the Charlottesville Fire Department. He will report to Rogers in his capacity as the city’s public safety director.
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