New Apopka fire chief looking to push the fire department forward

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Sean Wylam, Apopka fire chief

As the city’s new fire chief, Sean Wylam is determined to keep the Apopka
Fire Department on track as one of the nation’s top fire departments.

Previously an assistant chief, Wylam filled the position as fire chief on Friday, August 30, at 5:01 p.m. He succeeds Charles “Chuck” Carnesale, whom then-Mayor Joe Kilsheimer appointed as fire chief in June 2016.

Carnesale informed Mayor Bryan Nelson of his intent to retire in a letter on
Wednesday, August 28. The retirement went into effect Friday, August 30, at 5 p.m. Carnesale said the decision was his own.

Nelson announced the appointment of Wylam as fire chief on Thursday, August 29. The Apopka City Council was expected to ratify the decision at its Wednesday, September 4 meeting, but because of Hurricane Dorian, that meeting was postponed until Wednesday, September 11.

Wylam said he is concentrating on moving the department forward and on meeting its goals.

“I think the most important thing is our people,” he said. “My general goal is to make sure we’re constantly thinking about moving forward and promoting our people and our mission … That’s where my focus is right now. I can’t sit back
and think about what other people think. The only thing I’m concerned about is our department and our city.”

Among Wylam’s goals for the AFD are maintaining its operations as well as its Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office, putting the department
in the top 0.09 percent in the United States. ISO supplies statistical, underwriting, and actuarial information for the property/casualty insurance industry.

He also wants to work on intra-department issues, developing city firefighters and ensuring they qualify for their positions, and identifying all assets such as equipment in order to maintain a well-balanced budget.

The city continues to seek funding to construct a permanent facility for Station 6. Its temporary building is located onsite at AdventHealth Apopka hospital on Ocoee-Apopka Road, at the State Road 414/SR 429 interchange.

The station is staffed with three firefighters and Engine 6, an advanced life support engine, operates out of the station that opened in its current location in December 2017, the same time the new AdventHealth campus opened.

“We’re definitely looking for a permanent station,” Wylam said. “It depends on where the greatest density in the (city’s) population is.”

The full story appears in the Friday, September 6, issue of The Apopka Chief. Subscribe today!