Whiteley named Winchester fire chief 

Published 5:30 pm Thursday, August 5, 2021

After 16 years of dedication to the Winchester Fire Department, Chris Whiteley has been named Winchester fire chief.

Whiteley, who previously served as interim fire chief, was officially promoted during Tuesday’s city commission meeting, which he attended with his family. His son Blake, who graduated from George Rogers Clark in 2020, removed Whiteley’s interim fire chief badge from his father’s uniform. The younger Micah, 15, replaced Whiteley’s former badge with one signifying the rank of fire chief. After the formalities, the crowd attending the commission broke into an applause as Whiteley kissed his wife, Teresa. 

“I’m grateful for the confidence placed in me by the city administrators,” Whiteley said. “And I’m excited to create a department full of teamwork and teammates as we move with one heartbeat and try to continue to move our fire department forward with the rest of our community.” 

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Part of Whiteley’s commitment and discipline can be attributed to his service in the Marine Corps from 1994 to 1999. It was during this service he met Teresa, who was also serving in the Marines. Whiteley would find himself returning to military service three years later. 

“Then the events of 9/11 drastically changed my life,” Whiteley said. “I reenlisted in the Marine Corps and served from February 2002 to August of 2002 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.”

The 9/11 terrorist attacks instilled in Whiteley a great respect for firefighters and first responders, and in February of 2004, he joined the Winchester Fire Department. 

In 2010, Whiteley was promoted to the rank of lieutenant; battalion chief in 2015; and then interim fire chief June 6 of this year. 

Going forward, Whiteley wants to continue working with the fire department as a team, seeing others in his departments as peers instead of subordinates. 

“This isn’t Chief Whiteley’s little ball. This is the fire department, and I want it to be the fire department,” Whiteley said. “We foster a sense of teamwork and move toward a vision we all want the fire department to be. I want to earn their respect working as a teammate. And I’m so thankful for the character of this department and the resiliency of its character.”