KGVO News spoke to newly confirmed Missoula Fire Chief Gordy Hughes on Tuesday after he succeeded the now retired Jeff Brandt.

Hughes provided a brief history of his career with the Missoula City Fire Department.

“I began my career back in 1993 in August, and from the beginning to 13 years after that I was a member of operations, so I rode the big red trucks,” said Chief Hughes. “Then I started in the Fire Prevention Bureau, first as a fire inspector, and then in 2011 I became the Fire Marshall for the city's Fire Department.”

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Hughes said becoming Fire Chief was not something he ever thought possible, as Jeff Brandt was doing such a fine job.

“I didn't think that I would be in a position to have the opportunity to be the Fire Chief,” he said. “It was a surprise. I always thought that Jeff Brandt and I would probably be retiring around the same time. He just decided to pull the pin quicker than I did. That expedited that decision that I decided at that point to endeavor to pursue the position, so that is where I'm found today.”

KGVO asked Hughes if he had any plans on expanding or improving fire service as the new chief.

“With the growth going on in the city of Missoula, and the big area to be developed there east of the airport near the Mullan Road area, we're going to see a tremendous spike of building and influx. So, it’s is my goal and aspiration in the next couple of years that we look seriously to stand up a sixth fire station out there in that area of the Mullan build.”

Hughes also said he wanted better facilities and a permanent home for the newly established Mobile Support Team.

“We need a facility and a location to set up our Mobile Support Team,” he said. Right now they’re a unit without a home. Most of the time they respond out of the Partnership Health Center with our folks partnered with that unit and we just need to find a home centralized in the city that they can basically respond.”

Hughes was confirmed with a unanimous vote by all 12 members of the Missoula City Council at their first meeting of the year on Monday night.

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