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'Huge milestone': Woman becomes first deputy fire chief in Polk County

Jennifer Huff began her career as a volunteer firefighter in 1995.
Credit: Polk County Fire Rescue

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A 26-year veteran of Polk County Fire Rescue became the first woman to be promoted to the rank of deputy chief, the county announced this week. 

Jennifer Huff will serve in the planning division, according to a release

“Deputy Chief Huff’s promotion is a huge milestone for Polk County Fire Rescue,” Fire Chief Robert Weech said in a statement. “In a profession dominated by men, Huff has stood out, broken her own ground and deserves this position – not because of her gender, but by her skill.”

Huff began her career in 1995 as a volunteer firefighter, the county said. Over the years she "climbed the ranks as an emergency medical technician and paramedic, to firefighter, engineer, lieutenant, battalion chief and now deputy chief," the county said in its release.

Also promoted to the rank of deputy chief is Eugene Gorokhov. He will serve in the training division, the county said. 

“Deputy Chief Gorokhov has a proven record as an operational battalion chief as well as a proven leader in various administrative functions,” Weech added. “Their combined knowledge and experience will be a huge benefit to our organization.” 

The county says Gorkhov is originally from Siberia, Russia, and started as a volunteer firefighter with Polk County in 2002. He was hired full-time in 2005, the release said. He served the county as a firefighter paramedic, medical battalion chief and battalion chief, according to the county.

Credit: Polk County Fire Rescue

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