ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) — Fire Chief Corey Mercer will be hanging up his helmet and starting his retirement on March 1, an announcement from the Rocky Mount Fire Department said on Tuesday.

Mercer, an Army veteran who began his career with the department in 1994 as a firefighter, said he’s had “the pleasure of being a public servant in one of the best communities there is.”

Moving up the ranks since 1994, Mercer went on to serve as a fire engineer, fire captain and battalion chief in Rocky Mount. He did transition to serve in Elizabeth City as fire chief in February 2018 before making his return to Rocky Mount as the city’s fire chief in July 2019.

“Chief Mercer has done an outstanding job leading the Rocky Mount Fire Department for the
past three and a half years. He has provided steady leadership while seeing many changes in the growth of the city and growth of the Rocky Mount Fire Department during his career,” said interim city manager, Peter Varney.

Department employees gather to celebrate the birthday of Chief Corey Mercer (center, bottom row) on January 7, 2023. (Courtesy Rocky Mount Fire Department)

Accomplishments of the fire department under Mercer’s leadership include:

  • Recruiting, hiring and retaining the most diverse workforce in the organization’s history
  • Leading public safety efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Creating policies and protocols that enabled the city to continue providing essential services
  • Attaining its first-ever Class 1 Public Protection rating

Maintaining ratings and an internationally accredited status put Rocky Mount in the top four-tenths of the top 1 percent of all fire departments in the United States, the announcement said.

As he prepares to depart his position, Chief Mercer has expressed an appreciation to all who make it possible for him to retire as the city’s chief.

“I am truly thankful to the citizens of Rocky Mount, the city administration, and the men and
women of the Rocky Mount Fire Department for giving me the opportunity to do a job I have
completely enjoyed every day for 29 years,” Mercer said.