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Mesa appoints new assistant fire chief

The Mesa Fire Department was first established in 1898 and Forrest Smith will serve as the agency's first Black assistant fire chief.

MESA, Ariz. — The Mesa Fire and Medical Department has appointed its first Black firefighter to serve as an assistant fire chief in the agency's decades-long history. 

Deputy Chief Forrest Smith will be replacing Assistant Chief Mike Dunn after Dunn retires from the city in July, the fire department announced Thursday. 

“Forrest has established great relationships with our Mesa community as well as with our sworn and civilian staff. I look forward to what he will accomplish in this new role,” Mesa Fire Chief Mary Cameli said in a statement. 

Smith started out working as a paramedic for the agency in 1999 before he gradually rose through the department's ranks. As deputy chief, Smith currently oversees the agency's community education and social services divisions.

Mesa's fire department was originally established in 1898 and currently consists of 20 fire stations, according to the city's website. 

Four assistant fire chiefs report to Cameli and help to oversee the agency's hundreds of employees. 

Smith is a graduate of California State University at Fullerton and additionally serves as an instructor for the Arizona Department of Military and Emergency Affairs. 

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