Springfield Fire Department appoints first African American district chief

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s another first for the city of Springfield, following the appointment of a new district chief. 

Chief Tyrone Denson can now say that he became the first-ever African American district chief of the Springfield Fire department. The first African American Springfield firefighter started his career in the late 1960s, nearly five decades later, the department has its first African American district chief.

Denson joined the force in 1997, working his way up the ladder for the last 23 years, as a firefighter, then lieutenant, up to captain, and now district chief. 

“With hard work and dedication, I feel others can see what work ethic I put into it and I’m just example for others to follow especially people of color,” said Chief Denson. 

District chief is a vital role in the fire department. Not only is it just two ranks below commissioner, but you’re responsible for other firefighters’ lives. 

Fire Commissioner B.J. Calvi told 22News, “It takes somebody with a great amount of character, drive, dedication to the job, dedication to the members to ensure their safety.” 

Chief Denson said he has always wanted to make the rank of district chief but when he started his journey, he never thought it would include becoming a part of history within the Springfield Fire Department.   

He added, “I’m honored and I’m humbled trust me but, I really just want to create a pathway for others to follow.” 

Chief Denson isn’t the only African American breaking barriers. 22News is celebrating Black History Month starting next week where we’ll feature other community members paving the way in the African American community. 

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