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Phillip Hyman takes the helm as Chattanooga's new fire chief Monday at No. 1 Fire Hall on East Main St.
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Phillip Hyman takes the helm as Chattanooga's new fire chief Monday at No. 1 Fire Hall on East Main St.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has appointed Philip Hyman to serve as the city's next fire chief.

He replaces Chris Adams, who retired at the end of September. Adams, who joined the Chattanooga Fire Department in 1990, served as its chief for two years.

Hyman, who has 22 years of firefighting experience, has been the department's training chief since 2013. He has held several leadership posts since 2001, including lieutenant, captain and battalion chief.

"Chief Hyman has spent the last few years training each and every member of our department," Berke said. "He's been on the trucks, he's been in every different part of this department. He knows it incredibly well."

Berke selected Hyman from a pool of 62 candidates from across the United States and one of four finalists selected for consideration last week.

Hyman was one of three members of the Chattanooga Fire Department to make the short list of top contenders, which included Administrative Deputy Chief Seth Miller and Battalion Chief Carlos Hampton. The other top finalist was Jason Campbell, an emergency services consultant who previously served in the fire department of Lynchburg, Va.

Berke touted the quality of the local candidates, adding they made his job easier and that he had to pick "the right chief for today."

He also expressed gratitude for Adams, who "poured his life" into the department.

Hyman made similar comments about the department's leaders.

"As with any organization, it is the people that most define what makes it the best it can be," Hyman said. "I particularly would like to recognize with deep respect, the other finalists for this position — my fellow firefighters, who are extremely talented and knowledgeable. I will be seeking their expertise in the days and weeks that follow and I cannot express enough how proud I am of them, their sacrifices, and hard work."

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Chattanooga Fire Chief Phillip Hyman accepts his new position with his family, top left, nearby. From top left, clockwise, is his son, Mason, wife, Lisa, and daughter, Ansley. Top right, background is Barbara Davenport. Hyman's announcement came Monday afternoon at No. 1 Fire Hall on East Main St.

In all, eight members of the Chattanooga Fire Department applied to be the next chief, including Battalion Chief Evan Willmore and Capts. William Andrews, David Brooks, Donielle Dean and Shawn Reese.

Hyman described the opportunity to lead the Chattanooga Fire Department as "an exciting yet challenging task," adding he considered the department as part of his extended family.

After the news conference, Chattanooga Chief Operating Officer Maura Sullivan shared her thoughts on the quality and wide-ranging nature of the applicants.

"I was very excited to see that we had interest from around the country," Sullivan said. "We had candidates from as far away as Alaska applying to be chief here in Chattanooga, and that speaks to what a great reputation our city has and the worldwide appeal of our city. People want to live here and be a part of what we're doing here."

Finding the right person from within made it even sweeter, she said.

"Having the ability to promote from within and finding the best candidate from those 62 applicants right here in our hometown was even better," Sullivan said. "It has a great feel to it."

The Chattanooga City Council will vote on Hyman's appointment in the near future, but no date has been announced.

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or pleach@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @pleach_tfp.

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