Albemarle fire chief departing, Kendall to be interim

(Photo courtesy of the City of Albemarle)

ALBEMARLE — After four years at the tiller of the Albemarle Fire Department, Chief Pierre Brewton is leaving to be chief of his hometown fire department in Spartanburg, SC.

AFD Assistant Chief Kenny Kendall will begin as interim chief on March 18. With the department since 1994, Kendall became the city’s first-ever assistant fire chief in 2022.

In November, he was named to the county’s Consolidated Human Services board by the Stanly County Board of Commissioners.

Albemarle now begins the hiring process for a new chief, responsible for the daily business operations and planning of the department, as well as overseeing a $3.6 million annual budget.

Last month, Chief Brewton and Albemarle Police Chief Jason Bollhorst at a recent community heroes event by Community Who Cares, a Norwood-based nonprofit community outreach initiative.

“I’ve been privileged to lead this talented, dedicated, and caring team, who are committed to doing all they can to serve the citizens of this great city,” Brewton said in a city press release. “I thank our elected leaders, city administration, and the community for supporting the work of the Albemarle Fire Department to make this community a safer place to call home. The city and the Albemarle Fire Department have a bright future ahead.”

After 33 years with Spartanburg Fire, starting as as a firefighter and rising to assistant chief, Brewton joined Albemarle FD as chief in late 2019.

“Chief Brewton has advanced our fire department and helped it grow. Chief became a highly valued and respected leader in the city’s organization and the community,” City Manager Michael Ferris said. “We are truly grateful for his efforts and wish him well in the future.”

During Brewton’s time with Albemarle’s department, the award-winning Albemarle Firefighter Cadet Academy was established and has thrived with Region of Excellence honors in the category of Cross Community Collaboration from the Centralina Regional Council.

Since 2021, the academy has trained new members of Albemarle’s department and other local firefighters.

In collaboration with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Stanly Community College, the academy hosts 18 weeks of instruction through classroom and hands-on training led by AFD firefighters and special-skilled instructors.

“From Assistant Chief Kenny Kendall, who developed the academy, to the chief officers through firefighters, every rank in our department has been critical to making the Firefighter Cadet Academy a success,” Brewton said. “We’re grateful to our city leaders and academy partners for supporting us and seeing our academy’s potential to make a long-term positive impact on communities.”

The academy recently celebrated its fourth graduating class, with three new firefighters joining Albemarle Fire, and other graduates joining East Side Volunteer Fire Department and Fairview Fire and Rescue Department.