IAFF 8th District Field Service Representative and Louisville, KY Local 54 President Brian O’Neill has been appointed chief of the Louisville Fire Department after the current chief, Gregory Frederick, announced his retirement. O’Neill’s first day as chief is Aug. 1.
“Brother O’Neill’s dedication to professionalism and duty is second to none,” said 8th District Vice President Mark Sanders. “Through education and training opportunities, this IAFF helps build fire service and union leaders. And Brian checked every box. On behalf of the entire 8th district, I wish him the best of luck as he leads the Louisville Fire Department forward.”
O’Neill first answered the call to serve when he joined the United States Marine Corps in 1992. He spent eight years in the Corps before joining the Louisville Fire Department in 2001.
Shortly after joining Local 54, O’Neill was elected secretary-treasurer and has spent the last 10 years as president.
He also held several positions with the Kentucky Professional Fire Fighters, most recently as legislative director. Additionally, O’Neill took on roles at the International, including 8th District Field Service Representative (since 2014), and participated in the IAFC/IAFF Labor-Management Initiative.
“Because of my new position, I will need to relinquish all of my union office positions, but I will be a card-carrying member of the IAFF and Local 54 until the day I die,” said O’Neill. “I am proud of all the work the members and I have done together including negotiating tremendous raises over the last three contracts (30 percent in total). At the state level, we also successfully lobbied for the passage of legislation to classify cancer as a line-of-duty death in Kentucky.”
O’Neill’s fire service career has followed a similar trajectory. He was promoted to sergeant in 2005, captain in 2010, and battalion chief in 2022. And now, he will take on the department’s highest role, leading a 500-member department with 21 stations, housing 26 fire companies.
“My first priority will be to address an issue that’s facing a lot of other fire departments right now, recruitment and retention,” said O’Neill. “I also want to focus on improving the current training schedule.”
He and his wife Carmen have three children, two of whom are attending college and one is stationed in Japan with the United States Marine Corps.