The Ocoee Fire Department has added a new member to its family.
Brad Chancey will serve as the new captain for the department, assuming the duties of fire training officer.
Chancey joins the department after retiring from the Orlando Fire Department following 30 years of service. He started with that department when he was only 20 years old.
“I’ve always loved the fire service,” he said. “It’s about helping people. It’s a pretty good feeling when you’re able to go somewhere where something really bad is happening and work to have a positive outcome. Sometimes, the positive outcome doesn’t work out, but it’s about being there to try to make that difference. I also enjoy it because it’s always something different. You never know what you’re going to see or what you’re going to be involved in.”
When serving with the Orlando department, Chancey said the units he was able to work on were high volume and high profile, with lots of calls and action.
His final shift with the department was on the last day of August, where he was still riding in a fire truck on calls.
The Orlando department was Chancey’s second family, and he wants every firefighter to have that same experience.
“I’m hoping to work with — it’s a smaller city and a smaller department — I hope to work with them obviously to get them up to speed and up to date on some stuff, as well as bring experience to the training,” he said. “I also want to help to foster a good camaraderie and fire department culture. Teamwork, so everyone can rely on each other and feel good about what we all do.”
Although Chancey was planning for retirement from the Orlando department, he knew he wasn’t done serving. He said he only left because he served the maximum amount of time he could with the city.
Oct. 23 was Chancey’s first day with the Ocoee Fire Department.
As fire training officer, his responsibilities include making sure firefighters meet the requirements of training and hours they must have for the year.
“My responsibility is to make sure that it’s good, quality training and not just a box we’re checking off,” he said. “I want to make sure it’s beneficial and also enjoyable.”
Chief Tom Smothers said Chancey comes to the Ocoee department at the perfect time.
The department has a new tower apparatus, a first of its kind in the city, expected to arrive January 2024.
A tower ladder apparatus differs from a conventional ladder truck in that it is equipped with a basket or bucket at the tip of the ladder. This will help the department with access to the newer and taller developed buildings in the city, such as City Hall.
Although there is no estimated date for start of service of the tower truck, Chancey will play an essential role in the training for the new device.
“With his years of experience with Orlando and being on a tower truck most of his time there, I know that that’s a direction we will be heading and having some shortcomings here, so I think having him will be a great benefit to our department and our personnel here on preparing us for the future needs of our city,” Smothers said.
Born and raised in Orlando, Chancey grew up in the Maitland area and now lives in College Park.
He is a second-generation firefighter and is following in his father’s footsteps. His father left the Orlando Fire Department to become a training officer at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority’s Fire Department before becoming fire chief.
Chancey’s uncle also was a firefighter, as were both of his cousins.
When Chancey isn’t working, he can be found fishing or spending time with his family: wife, Chelle; daughter, Ellie; and son, Gradey.