Covington’s new fire chief has family history

Covington’s new fire chief has family history
Covington’s new fire chief has family history

COVINGTON, Ky. — Covington’s new fire chief has decades of experience fighting fires in northern Kentucky, but his ties to the community go back over 100 years.


What You Need To Know

  • Corey Deye was recently sworn in as Covington’s new fire chief, but he’s been with the fire department for almost 20 years
  • Deye’s great grandfather, Henry Deye, was fighting fires in Covington back in the 1920s
  • Deye thinks his great grandfather would be proud of him
  • He might be interested in the past, but Deye said he’s focused on the future as fire chief

He’s trying to make his great grandfather proud while also keeping an eye toward the future.

Corey Deye was recently sworn in as Covington’s new fire chief, but he’s been with the fire department for almost 20 years.

He said his new role was never a career goal, but it is an honor.

“Very few people can say that they’ve been the fire chief here. But it’s an honor to lead this group of men and women that I’ve worked with for so many years,” Deye said.

Being a firefighter isn’t for everyone. But it’s a job Deye thinks he was born to do.

“You go through some of the toughest times of your life with your friends, some of the best times in your life. It’s truly kind of a family camaraderie job. There’s adrenaline rushes. There’s mental low points of the job,” he said. “You see people at their worst moments in their lives. But you at least get to come back and talk about that with your friends, and experience that with your friends.”

As it turns out, firefighting actually is in his blood. The man driving a horse-drawn ladder wagon in a photo at the Kenton County Public Library is Deye’s great grandfather, Henry Deye, who was fighting fires in Covington back in the 1920s.

One might ask, how did they even fight fires back then?

“I have no idea. Very difficult. Very slow, obviously,” Deye said. “They didn’t have air packs. They had just a completely different world. Steam pumpers, and I have no idea what kind of gallons a minute they could get. But I’m sure they would be in awe of what the modern fire service is today.”

Deye thinks his great grandfather would be proud of him.

“I’m sure he would be very excited just that I’m working here, period, following that family tradition,” he said. “I’d love to go back to that time. I feel like life would be simple. I think I would fit in well.”

He might be interested in the past, but Deye said he’s focused on the future as fire chief.

Despite budget and hiring challenges the department faces, he wants to take the department into the next generation, making data-driven decisions to ultimately increase survivability.

The department is filling about a half dozen open positions, a process that has proven more challenging in today’s employment climate. Last June, Deye started the department’s cadet program, which employs on a part-time basis four recent graduates of Covington high schools to build “a firefighter pipeline.”

 
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