Burlington names interim fire chief

Burlington city manager Craig Honeycutt has named a longtime fire chief as the city’s interim fire chief, while the city searches for a permanent replacement.

Ken Briscoe, who formerly headed the Lenoirfire department for 15 years, retiring in 2018, has been designated as the interim chief effective next Monday, July 31.

After an almost three-year tenure, the city’s former fire chief, Jay Mebane, left to become fire chief in nearby Chapel Hill.

Briscoe has been in fire service for over 45 years, starting in Lenoir as a paid firefighter in 1975, returning in 2004 as chief, and retiring from there in 2018.  In between his service in Lenoir, he had a 20-year career with the N.C. Department of Insurance.

Briscoe has previously been selected as statewide firefighter of the year and has held key leadership roles in multiple state professional fire service organizations, according to the city.

Burlington describes Briscoe as ” an experienced fire service instructor, including being a specialty instructor for breathing equipment, command and control and multiple specialty rescue disciplines.”  According to a city press release announcing his appointment, Briscoe “is highly experienced and will be able to bring a wealth of competent fire service knowledge to Burlington during this interim period.”

He has also served as the state Fire and Rescue Commission Director for eight years.

Burlington is at least the second fire department where Briscoe has been asked to serve as interim fire chief.  He also performed that role in City of Isle of Palms, South Carolina.

The city says Briscoe will work closely with city manager Honeycutt “in developing a transition plan for the next permanent fire chief while keeping the fire department progressively moving forward.”