Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's appoints Sherry Colford as city's first female fire chief

The City of St. John's has announced its new fire chief, and for the first time in the city's history, a woman will hold the position.

Colford was previously head of 911 services for the province

Sherry Colford is the first female chief of the St. John's Regional Fire Department. (Submitted)

The City of St. John's has announced its new fire chief, and for the first time in the city's history a woman will hold the position.

Sherry Colford, who has been with St. John's Regional Fire Department for the last 15 years and recently was the manager of 911 service and fire prevention for the province, takes over as new fire chief today.

Colford said she's always felt men and women have equal opportunity in the city's fire department.

"Since I've come to work with the City of St. John's and the St. John's Fire Department, gender has never played a role in any of the positions I've held or any of the opportunities I've been given," she said.

Having said that, the milestone is important to her too.

"I have to admit it's a pretty proud moment to be the first female fire chief," she said.

The city started looking for a new chief two months ago when Jerry Peach announced his retirement.

Colford was chosen by a panel of city executives and human resources staff from the fire department.

"Her training as a firefighter and communications manager, years of experience at the fire department and her interest and skill in continuous improvement make her an ideal candidate for this high-profile position," said St. John's city manager Kevin Breen.

Colford said she plans to lead by drawing on the experience around her in the department.

"We have some very hard-working, dedicated staff in the fire department, and they're the expertise on the job," she said.

"And while I stand in a leadership role, I think it's extremely important to look around to those who do that job every day and bring them into the mix."

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