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The Indianapolis Fire Department honored its first Black police chief over the weekend by renaming a station in his honor. Chief Joseph D. Kimbrew Sr., who died last year, was instrumental in helping bridge the racial divide between Black and white firefighters in the city.

Kimbrew, a native of Indianapolis and graduate of the famed Crispus Attucks High School, was a U.S. Army native prior to serving for the fire department. After his honorable discharge from the armed services, Kimbrew joined the IFD in 1955 and was the first African-American to win the “Firefighter of the Year” award in 1968.

Kimbrew was named chief in 1987 after years of mentoring young firefighters. Kimbrew’s 37-year career with the IFD came to an end in 1995. He represented the department as a deputy state fire marshal until 1997. The former IFD Station 1 is now named after the late chief.

Kimbrew passed at the age of 86 last July, and was survived by his wife of 62 years, Carolyn Scott Kimbrew. The couple had a son and daughter and five grandchildren.

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