Anchorage, Alaska — The Anchorage Fire Department has a new fire chief, after Chief Chris Bushue received his badge at a change-of-command ceremony Monday afternoon.
Bushue's appointment comes after former fire chief Mark Hall announced he was stepping down last week, citing personal and family reasons for his return to the line as a battalion chief.
"It was a difficult decision and it really involves my family, my wife, my brothers and some close colleagues that i bounced it off of and explained why," said Hall. "I've received nothing but support."
Hall received some criticism during his time at the top. In 2009, he was reprimanded for sending a fire truck to pick his daughter up from school, and an Anchorage police officer argued with him during a 2010 altercation outside the Hotel Captain Cook Downtown.
"We all make mistakes but as we move on, we learn from those mistakes," Hall said. "I've enjoyed my time and I look forward to Chief Bushue taking the reins."
Bushue, a 32-year veteran of the fire department, gave his predecessor credit during the ceremony.
"Chief Hall has left this department in such a good position. We have good people, we have good equipment, we have good coverage of the Anchorage area and I couldn't ask to step into a better running organization than the one we have right now," Bushue said.
The new fire chief said his priority is personnel safety and said he's looking forward to meeting the challenges ahead.