BY KENDYL HOLLINGSWORTH
The Auburn Fire Department announced this month the recent promotions of six firefighters to lieutenant, captain and battalion chief. The promotions took effect in May.
According to Fire Chief John Lankford, firefighters must go through a rigorous assessment to determine whether they will be promoted. The assessment is designed to test their strengths and see how they would handle various situations they might face on the job.
“The testing is a rigorous process which includes an emergency scene roleplay, writing exercise and written test,” he said. “Their performance is graded by peers from other fire departments in Alabama. The candidates that score the highest are selected to be promoted.”
Four men were promoted to the rank of lieutenant: David Carr, Esau Hooks, Cody Krauel and David Tuten. All four previously held the rank of sergeant.
According to a news release by Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Steven Jordan, Carr began in Auburn as a student firefighter in March 2001 before his official hiring in 2005. He was promoted to sergeant in 2013.
Hooks followed a similar path, joining as a student firefighter in 2009 before his hiring as a career firefighter in 2011 and subsequent promotion to sergeant in 2014. He has earned degrees from Tuskegee University and Auburn University, and organizes the annual Firefighter Sporting Competition.
Krauel joined the department as a student firefighter in 2011, became a career firefighter in 2013 and was promoted to sergeant in 2018. He is also an EMT, Fire and Physical Fitness instructor for the Fire Department Recruit School.
Tuten started as a student firefighter in 2009 before becoming a career firefighter in 2012. He studied at Southern Union State Community College and Auburn University. He was promoted to sergeant in 2016.
Edward Ray was promoted to captain this year. He also started at the Auburn Fire Department as a student firefighter in March 2001. Ray was hired as a career firefighter in 2006 and promoted to lieutenant in 2007.
John Benefield is the department’s newest battalion chief. Benefield, whose career with the Auburn Fire Department spans nearly 30 years, started in 1993 as a student firefighter and became a career firefighter in 1996. He was promoted to team leader in 1999, lieutenant in 2006 and fire captain in 2021. He holds degrees from Auburn University and Troy University.
“Our firefighters are well educated and motivated to provide the best service to the citizens of Auburn,” Lankford said. “I am proud of all that they have achieved and know they will achieve great things in their new roles.”