Battle Creek City Photo

Battle Creek City has a new Fire Department Battalion Chief.

Fire Lt. Michele Hughey becomes the first woman to earn the position in the department’s 127-year history. Hughey currently is one of six women serving on the approximately 80-member city Fire Department team.

“Michele has demonstrated exceptional capability throughout her firefighting career,” said Chief Jim Blocker, the city’s interim director of fire and police services. “I am pleased to be a part of this process, and have the opportunity to announce Battalion Chief Hughey’s hard-earned promotion.  “There is much to do in the Fire Department, and Michele will bring a required perspective that can only improve the profession, her team, and the department.”

Hughey started with the BCFD 19 years ago, in April 1999, and was promoted to lieutenant in July 2009. She is promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief effective July 23.

The BCFD will be back to staffing four Battalion Chiefs. One of the positions opened last November when Adam Magers accepted the fire chief position in Cascade Township.

Battle Creek City Photo

The city’s Battalion Chiefs work from Station 1, 195 E. Michigan Ave. During each shift, Battalion Chiefs supervise 25 firefighters at the city’s seven stations, and act as scene incident commanders.

To apply for the promotion, candidates completed a written civil service exam, and a panel interview. Based on the scores, and level of seniority, candidates are ranked. Hughey ranked No. 1 on the Battalion Chief promotion list, out of seven current lieutenants who applied.

“This is an exciting announcement for the Battle Creek Fire Department,” said City Manager Rebecca Fleury. “Promoting our first female Battalion Chief is a proud moment for our city, and speaks highly of Michele’s skill set. Supporting and growing our female leadership for the city is a personal and professional goal of mine, and I know our entire leadership team will stand with Michele, and support her success.”

Hughey currently works at Station 7, at the W.K. Kellogg Airport. She is Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting certified, a special category of firefighting that requires response to, hazard mitigation, evacuation, and possible rescue of passengers and crew of an aircraft involved in an emergency. She also is a member of the BCFD Hazardous Materials Team.