Fayette County

Lexington Fire Chief Keith Jackson to retire; interim appointed

In this June 2012 file photo, new Fire Chief Keith Jackson spoke during a ceremony held at the Lexington Division of Fire Training Center on Old Frankfort Pike.
In this June 2012 file photo, new Fire Chief Keith Jackson spoke during a ceremony held at the Lexington Division of Fire Training Center on Old Frankfort Pike. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Lexington Fire Chief Keith Jackson is retiring on Jan. 9, Mayor Jim Gray announced Wednesday.

“It has truly been a blessing to lead the exceptional men and women of the Division of Fire and Emergency Services for the last five years. I am proud to say that during that time we have improved the quality of service we provide to citizens and increased the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations,” Jackson said in a news release from the city. “As I leave the helm as Chief, I am proud to leave a legacy of strong leadership, fiscal responsibility and putting people first.”

Jackson, the first black fire chief in Lexington, was named permanent chief of the department in 2012.

“Chief Jackson has provided great leadership for the department,” Battalion Chief Joe Best said. “We’ll miss him.”

Gray appointed Assistant Chief Harold Hoskins as interim chief starting Jan. 10.

In his 33 years with the department, Hoskins has served in several positions in the department. He said his time as a district major will help him as he moves into his time as interim chief.

The district major serves as a link between firefighters responding to emergency calls and the administrators, he said.

Hoskins said he plans to retire in January 2017, so he is not interested in staying in the position permanently.

This way, Hoskins said he will be able to focus on running the department during the search for a permanent chief.

Hoskins also said that since he has worked with Jackson as his assistant chief, he knows how things have been running and can keep the transition moving smoothly.

“It’s humbling that Mayor Gray trusted me to take that step,” Hoskins said.

Jackson has served as a firefighter, a paramedic and supervising major for the hazardous materials team during his 25 years with the Lexington Fire Department.

“Keith has been a strong partner in our work to strengthen our firefighting force,” Gray said. “He leaves behind a division that is fully staffed and fully equipped.”

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