New chief at Burlington-Fayette fire department

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 23, 2003

Becoming the "best fire department in the Tri-State" is a lofty goal, but one that Joseph Adams, new chief of the Burlington-Fayette Township Fire Department, believes is attainable.

"Although I am a little biased, I think we are already the best in Lawrence County," he said. "We have a super group of firefighters and I could not think of having a better group under me."

Adams, 38,

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joined the department in 1980. He has worked his way up from junior firefighter all the way through the ranks and has seen three chiefs come and go.

Officially named as chief earlier this month after Ray Carey moved out of the area, Adams said he is still a little amazed.

"It is kind of mind boggling right now," he said. "My goal is to keep it for 10 years and then someone else can have it."

Adams has several ideas that he hopes will help the department continue to grow.

"I want to orient our department more to public service," he said. "Without the public, the fire department would be nothing. We need to continue to be out there in the public eye more."

As part of this, he plans to visit local businesses to introduce himself.

"We want to let them know we are here," he said. "If they have a problem, to please let us know."

In addition, he would like to build up the department to 45 or 50 volunteers, continue developing the first responders program and increase training with hazardous materials and other evolving aspects of firefighting.

Adams said he has seen many changes in the department and fire fighting in general during his 20 years of services.

Technology and equipment has really revolutionized the field with additions like the Personal Alert Safety System, thermal imaging, modern trucks and better equipment, he said.

"Changes have really made the job easier," he said. "But at the same time, it takes a lot more training to figure out how to handle the equipment and handle it safely."

Above all, Adams said it is the 6,500 citizens that keep him and the other 32 members of the department coming back for more.

"The most rewarding part is just helping the community any way we can," he said.