Hattiesburg Fire Chief to Retire - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Hattiesburg Fire Chief to Retire

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After 27 years as a firefighter, Hattiesburg fire chief David Webster is retiring.

The 54-year-old Webster has been fire chief since 2006. He's spent most of his life serving others, something that runs in the family.

"My dad was a fireman so I grew up in that environment, hung around fire stations as a kid."

After six and a half years as chief, Webster says one of his biggest accomplishments was bringing an understanding between the department and AAA, requiring firefighters to become certified EMT's.

"I wanted to move the department forward, I wanted to do help establish strong relationships."

He says it's those experiences out in the field that have been the most rewarding.

"You can go through life and have moments that are lifetime changing moments, the fire service allows you to be a part of that for people on a regular basis for them."

Webster says his age played a role in his decision, and the new municipal government term starting in July made the time right.

"The end of one municipal term and the beginning of another was a good time to go ahead and make an exit."

June 21 is Webster's last official day as chief.

Taking his place as interim is assistant chief Paul Presley.

"It's a little disappointing to lose your leader and I know some of the guys are a little upset," says Presley.

Presley and Webster have been working together for over 20 years. Presley says Webster was a fair leader. He and the department wish him all the best.

"Whatever he does he's going to be successful at it. We're going to miss him."

Webster says that he plans to continue working in the realm of fire service, likely through training, writing and consulting.

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