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JUST IN: Alexandria Fire Chief Corey Smedley is retiring in January

Updated at 11:45 a.m. Alexandria Fire Chief Corey Smedley announced his retirement today, and that he will leave the top job on Friday, Jan. 12.

After more than three years at the helm of the department, the 51-year-old Smedley did not say what his next move would be after his retirement. He’s the city’s first permanent Black fire chief, and led the department through the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as negotiated the AFD first-ever collective bargaining agreement with the fire department’s union.

“I am extremely blessed and honored to serve,” Smedley said. “The Fire and EMS service is a great way to spend your life serving others and helping those in need. Although this is a bittersweet moment, I find solace knowing the department is in a better place and there are leaders within that will continue the journey of improvement.”

Mayor Justin Wilson called Smedley a “great leader.”

“Chief Smedley has been a great leader for one our fastest-growing departments at a critical time in our history,” Wilson told ALXnow. “His retirement is a big loss for our City. I wish Chief Smedley well in his retirement and I thank him for his tireless work to protect the safety of people and property in our community.”

City Manager Jim Parajon also appointed Jim Schwartz to act as interim Fire Chief as the city conducts a national search for Smedley’s permanent replacement. Schwartz retired in 2021 as a deputy county manager in Arlington.

Smedley was born in Washington D.C., raised in Maryland and lives in Chesapeake Beach, Md. He joined the department in 2015 as the deputy fire chief of emergency management and homeland security, after 20 years with the Prince George’s County Fire Department. He was promoted to Assistant Fire Chief of Administration in early 2019, and was named the acting fire chief that summer after former Chief Robert Dubé unexpectedly announced his retirement.

City Manager Jim Parajon thanked Smedley for his contributions over the last eight years.

“His outstanding leadership has led to significant workplace improvements for our firefighters and EMS providers, while improving the quality of life in Alexandria,” Parajon said. “We wish him all the best for a well-earned retirement.”

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