New Alexandria fire chief is first Latino to serve in that position

New Alexandria fire chief is first Latino to serve in that position

A new fire chief has just been hired in Alexandria, Virginia, and he is making history as the first Latino to serve in that position.

Following a nationwide search, Felipe Hernandez Jr. was selected to be Alexandria’s next fire chief.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of interviews, but this one was pretty intense,” Hernandez said. “I think that’s great, because it shows that the city really took a good effort to make sure that they got the proper candidate.”

Hernandez has spent about 30 years in the fire service.

He was previously the fire chief in the City of Rochester, New York, where he oversaw 482 sworn and 24 civilian personnel.

“I just love the ability to help people and to help the community,” Hernandez said. “It’s important to have a job that you feel is meaningful.”

How does it feel to make history as the first Latino to serve as Alexandria’s fire chief?

“It feels great,” Hernandez said. “It’s important for the city to represent the community, especially when it comes to diversity.”

“I think it’s important for people to see themselves in the senior leadership,” Hernandez added.

Hernandez takes over for James Schwartz, who has been serving as interim fire chief since January.

“Chief Hernandez impressed our team with his experience and technical competence,” said James Parajon, the city manager in Alexandria. “Most importantly, Chief Hernandez knows that strong relationships with good people will ensure we continue to grow and thrive.”

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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