HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK)—Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader will retire, effective Feb. 11, 2022, according to Mayor Steve Williams.

Rader will transition into a new position as director of the Mayor’s Council on Public Health and Drug Control Policy.

“We owe Chief Rader a debt of thanks for her leadership, her heart and her fortitude,” Williams said. “Fortunately, we are not saying goodbye to her. While she may be saying farewell to the fire service, she will continue to assist our efforts in the battle against substance use disorder and the ongoing public health challenges facing our city, state and nation. We aren’t done yet.”

Rader was a Huntington firefighter for more than 27 years. In December of 2016, she became interim fire chief, and she was sworn in as permanent chief in March of 2017. She was the first woman to serve as a chief of a professional fire department in West Virginia.

“I have shed tears, mourned, laughed and rejoiced with both coworkers and citizens during the past 27 years,” Rader said. “The firefighters who guard this community are dedicated first responders and true heroes. I am proud to have served with each one of them and know they will excel moving forward. I also can’t thank Mayor Williams enough for his support, leadership and friendship. He has been instrumental in solving decades-long challenges that have hindered both the Huntington Fire Department and the community as a whole.”

Mayor Williams will assemble a citizen-based search committee that will help select a new fire chief for Huntington..

“I love this community. It’s a very warm, inviting community. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to serve them, and I will continue to do that. Even as a regular citizen or working in the new office,” Rader says.

“The committee members will be trusted individuals who will have the capabilities of vetting fire chief candidates thoroughly and recommending finalists to me whose vision of public safety reflects the needs of our community,” Williams said.

More information about Rader’s new position and the new chief selection process will be made available in the coming weeks.