Palm Coast, FL - The man who's led the Palm Coast Fire Department since its birth as a town calls it a career and city officials didn't have to look too far for his replacement.
City Manager Jim Landon announces that Deputy Chief Jerry Forte (left) will replace his boss, Mike Beadle (right), once he retires September 27th.
The announcement came during yesterday’s City Council meeting where dozens of firefighters, future firefighters and fire volunteers had gathered as council members approved the donation of a fire truck to the Fire Academy at Flagler Palm Coast High School.
“I have watched Jerry grow in his career, both in his skills and in assisting Chief Beadle with the development of the Fire Department. I have watched him grow into a strong leader,” Landon said. “The working relationship between our Fire Chief and Deputy Chief has allowed for not just a smooth transition, but also one through which the department has grown stronger over the past few years."
Chief Beadle became the first fire chief of Palm Coast in September of 2000, not long after the city was incorporated in December of 1999.
Forte started as a volunteer firefighter in 1990, becoming a career member as a firefighter/EMT in September of 1992. He rose through the ranks to eventually become the Deputy Fire Chief in 2009.
In addition to serving as second-in-command for the past nine years, Forte is also known for his leadership within the City of Palm Coast. He led the team for the ISO assessment resulting in an exceptional rating of 2, created the system for employee staffing during hurricanes and other major emergencies, and plays a key role in advance safety planning for special events in Palm Coast.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with my friend, my mentor, my brother Mike, who we’re going to miss a lot,” Forte said Tuesday, with Beadle at his side. “He has been in my life for the last 30 years in the great times and even in the most difficult times."
Since its creation, the fire department has grown to five stations with 57 career personnel and more than 50 volunteer firefighters, fire police and associates.