Alexandria appoints city’s first black permanent fire chief

Alexandria acting fire chief Corey A. Smedley will step up to the role for good, becoming the first black permanent fire chief in the Virginia city’s history.

Corey A. Smedley is becoming the city’s first black permanent fire chief. (Courtesy Michael Zuidema)

On the heels of what Alexandria City Manager Mark B. Jinks described as a nationally competitive recruitment effort, the city announced on Monday it opted to promote Smedley from his current role as acting fire chief — a position which he has held since the retirement of chief Robert C. Dubé in early July — to lead the city’s fire services permanently.

Smedley’s long career saw him serve in various firefighting roles at the Prince George’s County, Maryland, fire department for over two decades before coming to Alexandria in 2015 as deputy fire chief for emergency preparedness.

Initially, his responsibilities included updating response plans and working with regional partners on risk assessments.

In his six months as Alexandria’s acting fire chief, he worked on several projects aimed at bettering emergency services, including expanding a joint training program with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and increasing minimum staffing on fire engines.

“Throughout his 25-year career, Chief Smedley has been involved in nearly every aspect of fire and emergency medical service,” Jinks said in a news release.

“His leadership both within the fire department and with our community and regional partners shows he has the necessary qualities and experience to lead our fire department into the next decade.”

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