Assistant Chief Tracy Smith becomes highest-ranking woman ever at Columbus Division of Fire

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Tracy L. Smith was promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief of the Columbus Division of Fire (CFD) on October 18 after 22 years of service.  She is now the highest-ranking woman in the history of CFD.

“It’s not significant that it’s me. It’s significant that over the years, the city has changed in the opportunities it gives all people to succeed,” Smith said. “I hope this sends a message to young women everywhere that if they work hard and stay focused, they can do anything.”

Smith entered the division on October 25, 1998.  She was promoted to lieutenant in 2006.  In 2011, she was promoted to captain. In May 2013, she was promoted to Battalion Chief, and in May 2020, she was promoted to Deputy Chief. 

“I’ve known Tracy and her work, her pursuit of excellence, for decades. She has consistently done an outstanding job,” said Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus, Jr. “It was an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to promote her to both Deputy Chief (in May) and now Assistant Chief.”

Smith will now be responsible for overseeing all three shifts in the Emergency Services Bureau. 

“The fact that she is a woman can be considered a bonus, because she is a role model for other female firefighters and young women considering a future in the fire service,” said Columbus Fire Interim Chief Jeffrey Happ said. “But know that the reason she was promoted was because of her talent, knowledge, and ability to do the job.”

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