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Albemarle hires new fire chief

The city of Albemarle has named T. Pierre Brewton as its new fire chief.

Brewton, who spent 33 years with the Spartanburg (S.C.) Fire Department, will begin his duties Jan. 21. He will fill the vacancy created when Shawn Oke retired at the end of May after nine years as chief. Ernie Hiers, who previously served Kannapolis Fire Chief, has been serving as interim fire chief since late September.

“I am elated to be able to come into a growing, vibrant city,” Brewton said.

He said when he toured the city, the city hall staff were professional and the people were very welcoming.

“I look forward to serving this community, now my community,” Brewton said.

He said his goal is to increase the livability of the city through good, community-risk reduction.

In November, Brewton, 51, found out he made the short list of potential candidates. After several interviews, he was chosen to lead the department.

His last day with Spartanburg Fire Department is Jan. 15 and though his colleagues will miss him, they know he is ready to become chief.

“We’re going to miss him and we hate to see him go, but we understand this is his opportunity to step up and be that lead person and he’s prepared himself for it and I wish him the very best,” Spartanburg Fire Chief Dr. Marion Blackwell said. Brewton has been Blackwell’s second in command for more than four years.

Brewton rose through the ranks from entry level firefighter to become assistant fire chief, becoming the highest-ranking minority within the Spartanburg Fire Department, according to a press release. During his tenure, Brewton assisted the city of Spartanburg in establishing an effective and efficient All-Hazards/All-Risk Customer Service-based Department. He also assisted the department with obtaining national fire accreditation and achieving a national insurance ranking of class 1, which ranks the organization in the top 1 percent of all fire departments in the nation. Brewton has significant command experience, serving as the incident commander for the Type III Upstate Incident Management Team responding to state and federal disasters.

A graduate of Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C., Brewton is completing his master’s degree in human resource management from Western Governor’s University.

He is completing the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He was appointed to the International Association of Fire Chief’s Human Relations Committee and to the State of South Carolina’s Diversity Task Force.

Brewton holds national certifications as both a national health and safety officer and chief fire officer.

“We are excited to have Chief Brewton coming on-board and joining our organization,” City Manager Michael Ferris said. “Not only does he have significant fire experience, but he has demonstrated the skills needed to help the Albemarle Fire Department continue to grow and to be a contributing and valued member of our organization and community. We are in the midst of many exciting projects as a city and within the fire department and look forward to his start date.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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