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Contact: Jordan-Ashley Walker
Charlotte Communications & Marketing

City of Charlotte announces CFD Deputy Chief Key as Interim Fire Chief

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 16, 2017) – The City of Charlotte announced today that Deputy Chief Howard "Pete" Key has been selected to lead Charlotte Fire Department (CFD) as interim chief, effective Sept. 1.

Deputy Chief Key will begin his duties after the Aug. 31 retirement of CFD Chief Jon Hannan, who served the City of Charlotte for nearly four decades. Deputy Chief Key will work closely with Hannan through the end of August to ensure a smooth transition in leadership.

Deputy Chief Key, a native Charlottean, joined CFD in 1977 . He was promoted to captain in 1984, battalion chief in 1996 and deputy chief in 2004. He has an associate degree in Fire Protection Technology from Central Piedmont Community College and a bachelor's degree in Fire Safety Engineering Technology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Deputy Chief Key was chosen as interim chief for his extensive experience as a proven leader. Deputy Chief Key currently focuses on ensuring CFD's daily operations run smoothly, as well as recruiting top talent to the department. In addition, Deputy Chief Key has been active in the community representing the fire department and the City of Charlotte with honor. He oversees CFD's Explorer Program and initiated CFD's summer internship program. 

"Charlotte is fortunate to have a strong, experienced leader like Deputy Chief Key who can step into this role," said City Manager Marcus D. Jones. "Deputy Chief Key is well-respected in the community and with Charlotte Fire Department personnel."

With 1,200 dedicated employees , the CFD provides protection to 842,000 people. The Charlotte Fire Department holds a Class 1 Public Protection Classification rating, which is the highest possible rating for fire protection services.

"I am honored and humbled to be appointed as the city's interim fire chief," Key said. "I look forward to continuing my ongoing work with our CFD personnel, as well as our work with other city leaders and community members."

Deputy Chief Key will continue to build on the department's successes by collaborating with the community as well as the men and women of CFD working tirelessly to keep Charlotte safe.

During Deputy Chief Key's tenure as interim chief, he will have three important areas of focus:

    • Enhancing recruitment efforts to encourage increased workforce diversity.
    • Continuing efforts to create an open and inclusive dialogue among employees, residents and businesses.
    • Maintaining the world-class response and commitment of all Charlotte Fire Department personnel in support of the safety of the community. 

The City of Charlotte is launching a search for a permanent fire chief. The City of Charlotte will conduct an extensive, objective search for CFD chief. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply. 


The City of Charlotte provides services to more than 800,000 residents. The City's focus areas are Community Safety, Housing and Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Environment and Transportation & Planning. For the latest news about city government, visit the Citywide Newsroom. From our website, you can sign up to receive email updates on City topics that interest you through the Notify Me service.​