SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Savannah Fire Department (SFD) officially has a new fire chief.

City Manager Jay Melder appointed Elzie Kitchen, who had been serving as the interim fire chief since July 2. The announcement was posted on Facebook on Monday.

“Being selected as the City of Savannah’s Fire Chief is truly an honor,” Kitchen said. “I believe promoting from within gives employees a goal to work toward and allows them to see there are opportunities for career advancement while fostering a deep sense of loyalty and stability. My selection shows other City employees that you can start in an entry-level position and make it to the top of a department.”

Kitchen has been a Savannah resident since 1977 and graduated from Johnson High School, SFD said. He started his career with the City’s Water Department in 1997 and has served SFD since 1998.

Kitchen has master’s degrees in emergency services management, public administration and organizational leadership from Columbia Southern and Waldorf Universities, according to SFD.

“Chief Kitchen is a servant leader committed to the City of Savannah’s vision of our City being safe for all Savannahians,” Melder said. “He has my confidence and trust, along with the respect of Savannah Fire, and the support of the Savannah community. Chief Kitchen embraces a collaborative approach to leadership and is focused on continuing Savannah Fire’s ability to save lives through investing in basic life support training.”