On October 6, 2020, Lexington Fire Chief Kristin Chilton has announced that she plans to retire in January 2021.
In the letter announcing her retirement, Chilton told Mayor Linda Gorton, “You, the City Council, and the residents of Lexington and Fayette County were dedicated to providing every tool necessary for our department to succeed and grow, even during difficult times, and we made every effort to prove that your trust was well placed.”
Chilton is one of a handful of women who has become chief of a fire department in the United States. She is a 28-year veteran of the Lexington force, and worked her way up in the Division through numerous assignments, giving her a broad range of experience.
Chilton first became interested in a career in firefighting in 1990 after visiting Station 1 on Third Street as part of a first aid class at Transylvania University. At Station 1 she met Lisa Daley, Lexington’s first woman firefighter, who encouraged her to apply.
“Through vision and experience, Kristin Chilton has continued, and built upon, the tradition of excellence in one of the best fire departments in the country,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “We will miss her.”
The division’s accomplishments during Chilton’s tenure include: earning one of the highest scores in the country from the Insurance Services Organization, which measures the effective of fire protection services in cities nationwide; establishment of the community paramedicine program; a significant expansion of the department’s services; the opening of a new fire station and upgrading of other stations; increasing the safety and efficiency of the stations; installed more than 25,000 smoke alarms, saving 14 lives; and improved firefighter recruitment, with an emphasis on diversity;
A search committee for Chilton’s successor will conduct a search of all applicants, both internal and external, and perform a national search.
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