HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Firefighters, police officers and other city officials gathered at the Sherrill Community Center in Hattiesburg Wednesday evening for the swearing-in of the Hub City's first African-American fire chief.
Paul Presley, 48, took the oath of office from Mayor Johnny Dupree.
Presley, who joined the Hattiesburg Fire Dept. in 1993, had been serving as interim fire chief for nine months.
The City Council last month unanimously approved his appointment.
"I've had some great mentors, great teachers, a lot of older guys who are retired now I had a lot of respect for," said Presley. "If it wasn't for them, none of this would be possible. I really appreciate those guys," he said.
He also said one of his main goals is to encourage more young people to consider careers in the fire service.