The Pell City City Council appointed Tim Kurzejeski as the new Pell City Fire Chief at the regular council meeting last week, and this Tuesday he was officially sworn in to his new position.
“This just got real,” said Kurzejeski. As Fire Chief, he will oversee the operations of four fire stations and 52 full- and part-time employees.
“This is a special and significant day. Y’all are the ones that take care of all of us,” Pell City Mayor Bill Pruitt addressed the firefighters in attendance. “That’s what makes this a burdensome decision, to not only find the right person to lead the department but to take care of y’all [firefighters].”
Kurzejeski is a firefighter and medic at Pell City Fire/Rescue and has served as Riverside Fire Department Fire Chief since 2010, which he will resign. He started with the Pell City Fire Department when he was 18 years old, and has been with them since.
“When I was thinking of applying for the position, I thought after 23 years, my life was fixing to change,” Kurzejeski said. “I’ve never been home every night.”
His family, including wife and three children, were in attendance.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity the city has given me to lead an amazing department,” Kurzejeski said. “I want to bring the position back to being about the firefighters. My job is to come in to work for you. I’m excited and look forward to where we’re going.”
The Pell City fire chief position became vacant after Mike Burdette retired in January. Bob “Shaun” Clevenger, the assistant fire chief has been the acting interim chief since that time.
A new Pell City Deputy Marshall was also sworn in. Blake Harbison has been a firefighter for 15 years, starting at Argo Fire Department. He has been with Pell City Fire Department for 11 years. The responsibilities of the Fire Marshall are to conduct inspections and investigations to determine the origins of a fire, if it was arson or accidental, and they also conduct building and safety inspections to make sure they are up to code. Harbison will assist Pell City Fire Marshall Caleb Walker.