McAlester names new assistant fire chief

Benny Brooks was promoted to assistant fire chief in July 2019 by the McAlester Fire Department.

The McAlester Fire Department promoted Benny Brooks to assistant fire chief in July 2019.

Brooks joined the fire service in 2003 and promoted several times in his 16 years of service, most recently as lieutenant in 2012. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Southeastern Oklahoma State College in Occupational Safety and Health and holds eight field-related certifications. His rescue expertise includes hazardous materials, swift water rescue, wildland firefighting, incident management, and more. He lives in McAlester with his wife Tina and their three children.

In his new role, Brooks is responsible for working alongside Fire Chief Brett Brewer to manage the operations of the city’s fire and emergency medical services. The multifaceted role includes overseeing training and certifications for the department, investigating fires, and serving as the EMS Director as well as responding to emergencies as needed.

“We’re happy that he has accepted the challenge and will help the department achieve new goals. He’s going to provide essential support to our guys working to protect our citizens,” said Brewer.

“It’s always been my goal to keep promoting through the ranks,” said Brooks. The advancement holds special significance to Brooks, whose family has a legacy of leadership in Pittsburg County fire departments. His uncle, also named Benny Brooks, worked for the McAlester Fire Department from 1963 to 1983 and served as chief from 1979 until retirement. His father, Gary Brooks, has served Fire Chief for the Crowder Volunteer Fire Department for the past 40 years.

Brooks serves as a Task Force Leader the Pittsburg County Swift Water Task Force and Wildland Task Force. His swift water rescue team recently assisted in securing the USS Batfish submarine in Muskogee during flooding of the Arkansas River. He also worked alongside county and state officials as the Operations Section Chief during Joint Command Emergency Operations in May 2019 when severe weather threatened the area.

Brooks has a new office at the Emergency Response Complex on Village Boulevard and is still adjusting to the new hours. “It’s a new lifestyle to go from shift work to an 8 to 5 work schedule, but I’m very excited to help the department going forward.”