New Fire Chief Selected for Palm Coast

Cheers of congratulations went up from colleagues and co-workers who have known Battalion Chief Kyle Berryhill over his 17 years of service to the city of Palm Coast as his name was announced to become Palm Coast’s next fire chief on a recent Tuesday night during the city council’s business meeting.
With big shoes to fill, Berryhill will follow the respected and admired Palm Coast Fire Chief Jerry Forte upon his retirement this fall. In service since 1990, Forte grew misty eyed when thinking about what comes next after 32 years of service.
“I started in 1990 and entered into the career service in 1992,” said Forte.
“There are so many boxes that I can check, but at the end of the day, it’s the people. All of the people that leave their families to give their all for strangers that they don’t know, because that is what they want to do, when you have a group of people of this caliber, it’s not work. When you go to your job, it’s another family, and that’s how I’ve been looking at it for years.”
Forte has been working with Berryhill on the administrative side to help prepare to lead the department, something Forte says he’s well-equipped to do.
Forte is a bedrock in the City of Palm Coast’s administration, providing a steady hand through turbulence and sharing his expertise during times of uncertainty. Forte’s confidence in the ability of Denise Bevan to serve as the city’s interim manager was shared by the city council, and Bevan went on to earn the permanent position in 2022.
Vetting and mentoring Berryhill, Forte has the same confidence in his ability to lead the next generation of firefighters for the city.
“When you’re in a position of responsibility and you have to ensure that the organization carries on, no matter what, you look for those folks that are skilled and specialized,” explained Forte.
“Kyle is the all-around entity that can carry the load. He’s got street credentials with the folks working on the trucks, he’s administratively brilliant, he’s able to master all the tasks needed to be a leader.”