New leadership in Birmingham’s fire department to take office today

Birmingham’s new fire chief, Cory D. Moon, will be sworn in on Monday, Feb. 3. at 10 a.m. at Bill Harris Arena. His new administration will join him in taking the oath.
They are:

  1. Julius Purifie, deputy fire chief
  2. Decimus Williamson, assistant fire chief
  3. Matthew LaMonte, assistant fire chief
  4. Larry Brown, assistant fire chief
    Also during the ceremony, the city’s interim fire chief, John Whitmer, and two other fire department officers will be recognized for their retirement. Whitmer and Raymond Williams, who is the interim deputy fire chief, will retire on Friday, Jan. 31. Donald Jones, assistant fire chief, will retire on Friday, Feb. 14.
    Following the ceremony, Interim Chief Whitmer, Interim Chief Williams and Chief Jones will perform their ceremonial final radio transmission via a handheld radio. It will take place inside a fire truck that will be parked in front of the Bill Harris Arena.
    Chief Cory D. Moon’s Bio
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service Chief Cory D. Moon will lead the largest fire department in Alabama, commanding approximately 700 personnel and 32 fire stations with an annual operating budget of $64 million. BFRS responds to more than 60,000 emergency calls every year. Chief Moon will be responsible for providing fire suppression, emergency medical, special operations, public education and fire prevention services to more than 211,000 residents in Birmingham, Ala.
    CAREER
    A Birmingham native, Chief Moon joined BFRS on March 26, 2001. During his time with the department, he served as a firefighter/EMT from 2001 – 2012; promoted to lieutenant in 2012; promoted to captain in 2015; and promoted to battalion chief in 2017. He was promoted to fire chief in October 2019, but he will not take the oath of office until Feb. 3, 2020, following the retirement of the interim fire chief. In his earlier leadership roles with the department, Chief Moon served as chief of training and safety, battalion chief in operations, department safety officer, technical rescue team leader and recruit school instructor.
    Chief Moon has always been well respected by firefighters and officers of the department and has become known for his balanced demeanor and mediation of issues. Currently, he is handling contingency planning for the 2021 World Games, which are scheduled to take place in Birmingham, July 15-25, 2021. Under his guidance and leadership, the department is prepared to host the largest sporting event in the city’s history.
    In a seven-year period, Chief Moon went from firefighter/EMT to fire chief. Such an accomplishment is the fastest rise through the ranks in the modern history of BFRS. Chief Moon credits his advancement within the department to hard work, dedication and having great mentors. Currently, he is 40 years old.
    EDUCATION
    Chief Moon attended Birmingham’s Central Park Elementary School, Green Acres Middle School and West End High School. After high school, he earned an associate of science degree with a concentration in fire science from Lawson State Community College in Birmingham. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree with a concentration in fire science and a master’s of science degree with a concentration in emergency services management, both from Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Ala. He also attended Miles College. Throughout his career, he has continued his education to enhance his professional knowledge, skills and abilities. He has received 62 Fire Service certifications from various local, state and national agencies.
    PERSONAL
    At the age of 5, Chief Moon discovered his interest in becoming a fire fighter. From his living room window, he would watch fire trucks drive through his Five Points West neighborhood. At the age of 10, a fire broke out at his neighbor’s home. Birmingham fire fighters responded and saved the house. Watching the fire fighters work together as a team only confirmed what he had known for years: that working for the Birmingham Fire Department was the only career he wanted.
    Through the years, Chief Moon has talked to children and young adults about the life of a fire fighter. In 2019, one of his mentees joined the fire department in Bessemer, Ala. “Every time I see him, he said that seeing me inspired him to do what he’s doing,’’ Chief Moon said. “Hearing that really validates the thoughts that I’ve always had for this profession, which is we are here to help people. I really enjoy helping people.’’
    Chief Moon has been happily married to BFRS Lt. Charnessa R. Moon since Dec. 12, 2012. They have two daughters: Brooklyn R. Moon and Cali R. Moon.

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