CHARLESTON, W.Va. – After 23 years on the job Charleston Fire Chief Chuck Overstreet is retiring. His last day at work is Friday.
Overstreet was named chief in 2011. He said he never intended to stay any longer than this.
“I had already decided that I was going to stay for three years and that was going to be it,” said the chief. “I’d already told Scotty Shaffer, who is going to be the next chief, that was going to be my time.”
He’s kept his word. He said leaving the job won’t be easy because of the friendships he’s cultivated over the past two decades.
“Meeting all the guys, the relationships, the teamwork, even sometimes the dangers that you have to go through builds relationships,” he stressed.
And stress is one big reason why Overstreet is calling it quits. He explained the life of a firefighter is not your typical 9-5 job. Shifts are 24 hours on, 48 hours off, and you can miss a lot of your own life.
Overstreet suffered a heart attack right before he took the chief’s exam in 2011. And not long after he became chief came the Arlington Ave. fire that killed 9 people, most of them children, and rocked the fire department.
Overstreet is looking forward to his new normal.
“I work with at-risk youth on the West Side of Charleston, doing things like that, and spending more time with my family,” said the chief.
He admits he missed out on some of his children’s major milestones and he wants to be there for his grandchildren.
When thinking back on his career with the Charleston Fire Department, Overstreet said he made the right choice.
“I don’t think that some of the other jobs that I had looked for growing up that they’d have been close to being as rewarding as what I experienced the last 23 years!”