Leesburg officials select first African-American fire chief

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LEESBURG, Fla. - History was made in the city of Leesburg on Friday when officials selected the city's first African-American fire chief.

David Johnson started his firefighting career in Leesburg 20 years ago and was determined to one day lead the department. The Leesburg Fire Department dates back to the 1880s, but Friday could be one of the proudest days of its long history.

Johnson told WFTV he's always had the goal of getting to the top of the department.

"Actually, I do remember that day. Because at that point, I was learning a lot. My eyes were wide open," Johnson said.

Johnson moved up steadily through the ranks over the last two decades. He's now in charge of a department that handles roughly 6,000 emergency calls and year and has a staff of 58 people.

Some of certain Johnson's selection will have a big impact within the city's African-American community.

"I can't speak for the entire community. But I would think that those that I know and who know me, they know Leesburg offers a great opportunity and everyone in the community has a chance," Johnson said.