ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has appointed the city’s first female fire chief.

Berkowitz says Jodie Hettrick has earned the respect of department staff during her work as deputy fire chief and has taken steps to improve the department.

Hettrick has been acting chief since Denis LeBlanc retired in last month.

She joined the department in 2012 and served as assistant chief until 2015. She was promoted to deputy chief, where she was responsible for day-to-day management and operations.

Hettrick previously had worked for the state Division of Fire and Life Safety, the Alaska Building Science Network, Cominco Alaska, Inc., the Valdez Fire Department and the Central Mat-Su Fire Department.

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