ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Fire Department has a new deputy chief.
At its August Town Council meeting, the town welcomed Anthony Norris, of Garland, on board as the second in command at the fire department.
“(Norris) has knowledge of volunteering in the fire department, as well as in administration, both of which will be a real benefit to us,” said Elizabethtown Fire Chief Nick West.
“This has always been my dream — to work in the fire industry full-time,” Norris remarked.
The new deputy chief comes by way of the Garland Fire Department, where he served as volunteer assistant chief for 10 years.
Even before that, however, he was involved in the fire industry, a task to which he has been committed for 18 years. While still in high school and at the age of 16, Norris began volunteering at the Garland department. After high school, he worked a variety of jobs, from maintenance and electrical work to dispatch with Sampson County, all while continuing to volunteer in the fire industry.
At the age of 24, with eight years of firefighting under his belt, Norris began teaching.
“I got out and really enjoyed working with other departments,” he recalled. “Over the years, I made my way to Bladen Community College, which was how I got involved with Elizabethtown Fire Department — when I came here to instruct a class.”
For the last 2½ years, Norris has been volunteering in the Elizabethtown department, and when the deputy chief position became vacant, he decided to throw his hat in the ring.
Now a little over a month on the job, he likes what he sees.
“It’s a very good work environment, and I love the community,” he commented, adding that he is enjoying the challenge of firefighting across multiple zones, such as industrial, commercial, and residential.
In his new role, the deputy fire chief will be supervising personnel, overseeing records management, working on improving the insurance rating, and keeping the department up-to-date in training, the latter of which he thinks is pivotal to the fire industry.
“Things change so much in firefighting,” he explained. “Even in the last two years that I’ve been here, things have really changed, and you’ve got to stay on top of it. There’s a reason for every regulation, every rule, because somebody, somewhere got hurt doing something. We’re going to train, and drill, and educate, and practice, so whatever it was, it doesn’t happen to one of us.
“I think that’s why I’ve been able to stay in the industry for 18 years now — because of constant training and keeping up with the changes,” he added.
Norris replaces former Deputy Chief Jamie Smith.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.