The Athens Review
Murchison Volunteer Fire Department has a new chief but he’s a familiar face around the department and the community.
Brandon Irby, 22, was named fire chief on Nov. 7 after former chief Gerry Huffman stepped down due to health reasons.
“He was the assistant chief and whenever Gerry Huffman stepped down due to health reasons that left Brandon in line to step up. All the volunteer firemen there voted him in as fire chief because he had the knowledge,” Mayor Deanna Benson said.
Born and raised in Murchison, Irby has always loved the city and jumped at the opportunity to join the department when he was 13 years old.
“I wanted to be able to help people and help the community,” Irby said. “I wanted to be a part of something that was good. I always wanted to do this. It is kind of a calling. It is not something just everybody wants to do.”
Like the members of the department who voted him in, Mayor Benson is excited for what Irby brings to the department and the city.
“I think it is a good move because he is a Murchison man. He was born and reared here, he knows the area and he knows the people,” Benson said. “He is definitely willing to learn all the aspects of the fire department, EMT and I can see a difference in that building over there already. The building looks more presentable and it is going to be a better place that will help to get the support of the citizens here in town if they see things cleaning up, shaping up.”
A little over a month into his new position, Irby has led the department as it hosts several Christmas events today around the city.
The event were created to bring the community together, a major goal Irby has for the department.
“I want to make it a better place. I want to be able to serve the community at our full extend where we can better the community, better the fire service and the first responder services in the community,” Irby said.
Other goals Irby has for the next year include educating citizens on the need for an Emergency Services District, increase training for members of the department and focus on the community.
“We are going to try and get the ESD passed, we are going to try and put everybody through training – as much as possible,” Irby said. “We want to become more community oriented and be able to teach the community what is going on and how it works in the fire service.”
Irby said the support of the department, including assistant chief Matt Randolph, is something that he has appreciated and looks forward to maintaining.
February marks Irby’s 10th year with the department while he also turns 23 that month. The chief position is a two-year term. Irby has been an officer in the department for three years.