New Cincinnati fire chief Roy Winston has been with the department for 29 years

Posted at 11:39 PM, Jun 08, 2017

CINCINNATI -- After an extensive, months-long search to replace the retiring Richard Braun, Cincinnati has a new fire chief -- one who's been with the department since he graduated from high school.

"It's somewhat surreal at times," said Chief Roy Winston, who was sworn in Thursday. "I progressively worked my way up through the various ranks, and so it's kind of like today has been the culmination of all of that."

When he joined the Cincinnati Fire Department, Winston said, he was an 18-year-old who wasn't sure what he wanted to do with his life. Over the next 29 years, he grew into his role and discovered a deep, abiding love for the career he'd chosen.

The feeling is mutual, according to Firefighters Union Local president Matt Alter. 

"We're excited that he came from within," Alter said. "His personality, his demeanor -- I think it's going to be great for the Cincinnati Fire Department."

One of Winston's goals as he takes the reins is to make the department more engaged with the community it serves.

"They don't necessarily have to see us on their worst day," he said. "There are a lot of fire educated topics or other community outreach programs, and I'd like to see us as a department really shift toward some of those things."