YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – On Thursday, Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown announced that Capt. Barry Finley will be the city’s new fire chief. Barry has been a Youngstown firefighter since the early ’90s.
He’s a U.S. veteran, an EMT, a registered nurse in Ohio and Pennsylvania, a certified heating and cooling specialist and — last but not least — an instructor at Choffin, teaching area high school juniors and seniors how to be firefighters and paramedics.
Station 3 on the west side is his home and his family is the crew, who could say nothing but kind words about their new chief.
“He’s a good man, a good friend and I’m just so proud of him,” Lt. Zakir Baraka, II said.
“I’m torn,” Patrick Holcomb said. “I’m so happy and so sad because I’m losing him, but I grabbed him and gave him a big hug.”
Just after 3 Thursday afternoon, Barry got the call from Mayor Brown that he’d been waiting weeks for.
“He said that if I still was interested, the job was mine,” Barry said.
Even hours later, the news still hasn’t sunk in.
“I’ve worked my entire career and now I get a chance, but like I said, Chief O’Neill is a hard act to follow,” he said. “I’m going to do my best, with his help, but I’m going to do my best.”
With that guidance from a man he looks up to, Barry hopes to enhance training and fire safety education within the department.
“I just want to make sure our guys are prepared for any and everything,” Barry said.
He also plans on giving back to the community through several outreach programs related to fire safety and health.
“I don’t want them just to think that the only time they need to call the fire department is when their house is on fire. I want them to know we’re here for them no matter what,” he said.
Barry said he’s set to meet sometime next week with current Fire Chief John O’Neill and Mayor Brown to talk about his transition to chief.