BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge firefighter made history Monday by becoming the city's first black deputy fire chief. Deputy Chief Creighton Williams says he hopes young black men will be inspired by his promotion.
"I think it's a milestone that young people can look at," Williams said.
"If they desire to be a firefighter, they know they can promote, like I did it, through the ranks."
Baton Rouge Fire Chief Ed Smith says he promoted Williams based on his ability but admits his department has had problems in attracting minorities. Baton Rouge firefighters had to undergo diversity training after one of them was caught using a racial slur in joke at his firehouse.
"We've always had an issue of recruiting minorities to the fire department," Smith said. "We've reached out and tried different things throughout the years and it's always been a struggle to achieve the numbers that we need to move forward and achieve the goals we want to achieve in diversity."
Williams hopes his promotion shows that anything is possible.
"Black men, in particular, because a lot of our kids don't have positive role models in the community," Williams said. "If you promote to a level to where people can see what you do, not so much what you do, but knowing that you obtained a certain goal, that gives them a little positive inspiration to say, 'well I can do the same thing'."