BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Fire Chief Edwin Smith is calling it a day and retiring from the Baton Rouge Fire Department.
Smith made it official with this letter below:
As I announce my retirement from the Baton Rouge Fire Department first I want to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to serve as Fire Chief. He has given me the strength to carry out my duties as chief. More importantly he provided his healing power that has allowed me to be alive today to write this thank you letter. To the many doctors, nurses, and staff at the Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute that provided me with the most amazing care during my illness. To my awesome LVAD team who helped me through the most difficult time of my life and monitors me daily to make sure I maintain my health. I will always be eternally grateful. Thank you God for placing them in my life.
To my family, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to achieve my dream to serve this great city and the men and women of the Baton Rouge Fire Department. The sacrifices they made allowed me to achieve success throughout my 47 year career and I am forever grateful for the love and support they have shown me throughout.
To the men and women I have worked alongside over the years it has truly been an honor. The true heart and soul of this department are the ones that don the gear and jump on the rigs to run into something others are running away from. The memories are too many to condense into one letter but they will stay with me forever. I will always be grateful for their hard work and dedication displayed through the many storms, floods, and other disasters we encountered. Not only did they take care of Baton Rouge but many other cities throughout the state and the nation. They will always be number 1 in my heart.
To the citizens of Baton Rouge, thank you for the honor and privilege of serving as your Fire Chief over the past 19 years. Thank you for the support you have given to me and your Class 1 fire department. As I reflect on my tenure as Chief I am grateful to so many community organizations, civic clubs, schools, industry, and private businesses that have given so much to make the Baton Rouge Fire Department what it is today. The friendships created throughout the city during this time are way too many to list. You are all first class and I thank you all.
I also want to thank the great public safety team we have in our city-parish. Police, EMS, Sheriff’s Office, Parish Fire Departments, the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security, and all the many city-parish departments that combine to get the job done. Your teamwork and cooperation while working through so many disasters allowed us to protect and serve the City. The city of Baton Rouge is very fortunate to have such a great public safety team. The many friendships developed with so many individuals from this team will remain with me forever. Thank each of you.
Finally I would like to thank Mayor Bobby Simpson for having enough confidence in me to appoint me to the position of Fire Chief. I also would like to thank Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden for allowing me to serve under him during his three terms and Mayor Sharon Weston Broome for allowing me to serve in her administration for the past five years. I am forever beholden to them all.
Now I look forward with great expectations for what the future holds. It is time to give time to my family who has sacrificed so much to allow me to follow my dream of being a firefighter. Thank you and May God bless you, the City of Baton Rouge, and the BEST Fire Department in the Nation.
Edwin Smith, Fire Chief
Fire Chief Smith has been in charge of the Baton Rouge Fire Department since 2002.
Mayor Broome released this statement about the retirement of Fire Chief Smith:
“Thank you to Chief Smith for his 47 years of service to the Baton Rouge Fire Department and to our community. Chief Smith has guided Baton Rouge through many emergency situations over the years, always demonstrating strong leadership and a reassuring presence,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.
Chief Smith is the second longest serving chief of the Baton Rouge Fire Department in its 102 years as an organization.
Chad Major will serve as the interim until a new Chief is selected. Chad Major, retired from the Baton Rouge Fire Department in 2020 with 32 years of service. During his last 8 years, he served as the Administrative Assistant to Chief Smith.