Norman Larkey is the new face of the Belton Fire Department.
Aug. 12 brought a change of scenery for the city’s new fire chief – but in a community that he is very familiar with.
Larkey was born and raised in Belton, and graduated from Belton High School in 1986.
In 1989, he began his career with the Kansas City Fire Department.
Larkey retired from the Kansas City department after 25 years and holding every rank except fire chief.
This month, Larkey was accepted as the fire chief in Belton.
“It feels good, and it’s good to come home,” Larkey said. “It was bittersweet because you make so many good friends.”
Larkey replaces former Chief Steven Holle, who retired after 35 years with the city.
Larkey said some of his closest friendships were made while in fire service.
“But, I always told my colleagues in Kansas City that the only other place I would want to be fire chief at is Belton,” Larkey said.
Larkey’s father, too, had a lifelong career in the fire service.
“I always wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps,” Larkey said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my mom and dad. I have also had my brothers and sons join me in the trade, so it’s very rewarding.”
The move to Belton Emergency Services and its fire company has brought new components as well as new challenges.
“I am to act as a liaison between the city manager and the City Council to provide the employees of the fire department the necessary equipment and tools and the training to carry out this mission of the fire department,” Larkey said.
During his time with the Belton Emergency Services, Larkey wants to help the department progress.
Though he just started a little over two weeks ago, Larkey has plans in mind, which include creating an apparatus and vehicle replacement plan, updating rules and regulations and hiring a full-time fire marshal.
According to Larkey, Belton will be his last stop as he plans to spend 10 to 15 years, as long as the citizens will allow it, before retiring and traveling full time.