Hopkinsville firefighter Steve Futrell is officially the new interim chief of the Hopkinsville Fire Department, and he is among 37 people from across the country who have submitted applications and are vying to fill the position permanently.
Futrell was sworn in by Hopkinsville City Clerk Crissy Fletcher during ceremonies on Wednesday morning at the Hopkinsville Municipal Center downtown.
A lifelong resident of Hopkinsville, he has 20 years of experience with the city fire department. He started his career as a firefighter and emergency medical technician before he was promoted to lieutenant and put in charge of a station.
Futrell noted that he moved from station to station during that time but spent most of his time at Hopkinsville Fire Department Station No. 2 on Skyline Drive.
Later, Futrell became a captain and worked as a district officer; as such, he was in charge of two stations, the main department and Station No. 3 on Canton Pike.
Most recently he has served the department as deputy chief of operations.
Futrell will continue as interim chief until Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks appoints a new chief and that choice is approved by Hopkinsville City Council.
Kenneth Grabara, human resources officer for the City of Hopkinsville, said interviews for the position of fire chief are tentatively set to begin next week.
"We would hope to make a decision by the end of the month," said Grabara, adding that the time frame could change depending on how the interviews go.
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It could, Grabara said, be the end of September before a chief is named.
He explained that finalists for the chief's job will undergo background checks and meet with the mayor; Grabara said there could be one or more finalists.
Among the 37 candidates, he noted that there are several good choices. The applicants, he said, expressed interest from a variety of places.
"In any hiring process, it's going to depend on how the interview process goes, the candidate involved and who would be the best fit for the city," he said, noting that the person's background and experience should be the best fit.
Grabara said officials are hoping that the position will be filled by a person who has fire experience as well as experience in emergency medical services.
In the local community, the Hopkinsville Fire Department provides fire services for the city, but it also provides EMS and ambulance service for the whole county.
"There aren't a lot that do that in Kentucky," said Grabara, observing that most communities in the state have an ambulance service operated by the county.
Futrell just completed his 20th year with the Hopkinsville Fire Department in July, and he said his own interview is among those slated for next week.
His past two years with the department have been as deputy chief of operations, and he has both EMS and fire experience, Futrell said.
His appointment as interim chief came about with the retirement of former Hopkinsville Fire Chief Freddie Montgomery, who left the city at the end of last month to take a position as the fire chief in neighboring Clarksville, Tennessee.
Futrell noted that Montgomery left the department in really good shape.
"We have a really strong officer corps and a really strong department," he said. "We'll continue on and provide that great emergency service and public service."
He said his biggest concern is ensuring the public the department will continue to provide the services it's been providing under Montgomery's oversight.
The Hopkinsville Fire Department is still serving the community, he said.
Futrell is a 1994 graduate of Hopkinsville High School.
Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.