LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Lexington fire department on Monday named a Millcreek Elementary student as the 2022 junior fire chief. 

What You Need To Know

  • Lexington’s newest fire chief is showing kids and more how she earned her city-wide title

  • Reese Tumlinson is one of 75 Fayette county students who created a fire prevention plan

  • The junior fire chief will explore the city’s businesses, meet leaders and dine out with Lexington’s chiefs

The fifth-grader at The Academy for Leadership, Reese Tumlinson, is showing how adversity can make someone stronger.

At a ceremony in front of her classmates, teachers, and loved ones, Tumlinson was officially pinned and honored with the junior chief title. With 75 competitors, Tumlinson’s fire-prevention and escape plan detailed the exit strategy for her home captured the attention of fire chief Wells and others. 

Tumlinson outlined the map in bold colors, and it includes important places for her family to meet in case of severe situations. 

“If my brother was over here, then we would meet him over here—because we wouldn’t know where he was,” Tumlinson said as she explained her plan.

While Tumlinson is being recognized for her fire safety awareness, the 10-year-old faces challenges often. “It didn’t feel real,” she said.

She learned this week she’ll have to have surgery for her ongoing scoliosis condition. She is hoping she can motivate and inspire her peers.

“People, especially kids, if they’re feeling like they can’t do things, then they know what I’m going through and that can inspire them,” Tumlinson said. 

Lexington fire chief Jason Wells, who helped recognize and pin Tumlinson at Monday’s ceremony, believes this is an important period in a kid’s life to encourage prevention and safety.

It takes enthusiasm and courage for this line of work, which the fire chief said Tumlinson shows a lot of.

“The fire service is an amazing career, but it requires a certain amount of heart and a certain amount of dedication and that’s really what Reese has shown,” he said. “So we’re excited to be able to spend the week with her and I think she would make an amazing firefighter down the road.”

Tumlinson thanked her mom for her support and for helping her overcome her reservations, like getting on stage in front of the entire school. 

The junior fire chief is looking forward to a week of meeting Lexington’s mayor, firefighters, businesses and eating lunch with local chiefs.