by: Lt. Patrick Juliano, Palm Coast Fire Public Information Officer
Kyle Berryhill will be the next chief of the Palm Coast Fire Department.
Berryhill, a battalion chief, will succeed Fire Chief Jerry Forte at a formal transfer of command ceremony scheduled for Oct. 14.
"Over the last 16 years, I have had the distinct privilege of watching Kyle Berryhill grow into one of the finest chief officers."
— JERRY FORTE, Palm Coast fire chief
Palm Coast City Manager Denise Bevan appointed Berryhill at a June 7 City Council meeting as the council recognized the 2021-2022 graduates of the city's Leadership in Training Experience (LITE) program; Berryhill is a 2018 LITE Team graduate.
“Kyle is an invaluable member of our organization and is a mentor and friend to many, especially at the Fire Department," Bevan said. "I hope you will join me in congratulating soon-to-be Fire Chief Berryhill on this well-earned promotion. And a very special thank you to Chief Jerry Forte on your dedication to this organization and this community, and for helping to raise up our future leaders.”
Berryhill previously served as interim fire chief in 2021 while Forte served as interim assistant city manager, and Deputy Fire Chief Bradd Clark served as interim fire chief of Flagler County Fire Rescue.
Over the last year, Berryhill has been mentoring under Forte and Clark to prepare for this opportunity.
"I think we are in good hands — we left good hands to go just to equally good hands," City Councilman Eddie Branquinho said at the meeting after Bevan announced Berryhill's appointment.
Berryhill joined the Palm Coast Fire Department in August 2005.
He was promoted to lieutenant in 2011, captain in 2017 and battalion chief in 2019.
As part of the department’s succession plan, the department is prepared to make the appointments in the line of succession created by Berryhill’s appointment to fire chief.
"Chief Forte leaves with us the seed and the genesis of the succession plan you just heard regarding the LITE team, so he will forever be a part of all we succeed and all we accomplish here at the city of Palm Coast," Mayor David Alfin said.
Berryhill, a native of Central Florida, attended Central Florida Fire Academy for his EMT and firefighter certifications, and obtained his paramedic certification from Daytona State College in 2006.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Flagler College and a master's of public administration from Barry University.
“Over the last 16 years, I have had the distinct privilege of watching Kyle Berryhill grow into one of the finest chief officers,” Forte said. “Kyle’s appointment is a direct reflection of our succession and mentoring programs by investing in our most precious asset, our people.”