St. Johnsbury, VT — The search for a new fire chief that began in August has come to a close.
Bradley Reed, a longtime firefighter who has served the community for more than twenty years has been appointed St. Johnsbury’s new fire chief.
Chief Reed was one of 18 applicants. The town’s selection committee then narrowed it down to four. Town Manager Chad Whitehead says Chief Reed but was unanimously chosen by the committee.
Reed’s father, grandfather and two uncles had all served the department. “A lot of children like to be firefighters, and I was one of those kids,” said Reed. “I was just lucky enough to have somebody in my family, multiple people in my family, who were firefighters.”
One of his uncles, Eugene P. McDonough, lost his life in 1998* when house in Lyndonville collapsed during a fire. He was the first line-of-duty death in the department. Chief Reed says his family serves as his inspiration to serve his hometown.
Reed’s career began in 1998. Eight years later, he was promoted to Captain. Reed further climbed the ranks in 2018 when he was made Assistant Chief. Friday, he was named Chief.
“Just being familiar with the fire department itself here, but also his knowledge on the fire service and the professional development that he’s gone out and done for himself really brings forth a good opportunity for the town,” said Whitehead.
Chief Reed says some of his top priorities are to recruit more members and build a new station. “One of the biggest challenges that we have in emergency services right now is recruiting folks, and it’s very hard to find people to fill those roles.”
In an emergency, Chief Reed says at least two officers will respond, but he’s looking to up this number especially given the rise in call volume this past year.
“We need a new fire house, which is a huge financial burden on the community, but it’s also important for us to be able to live with services that we need to keep the equipment all together, to keep the equipment serviced and maintained.”
Chief Reed says he’s ready to continue his service to the department as chief.
“There’s just so many great things that happen. We see a lot of bad things too, but it’s the best job in the world.” Reed reiterated, “It’s the best job in the world.”
*Story incorrectly stated 1995.