Cabarrus welcomes new assistant fire marshal
Longtime volunteer brings focus on fire safety education
CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - From Cabarrus County: From the time she could walk, Ashleigh Ennis was immersed in Cabarrus County’s fire service.
Her father, Roy Gray, would bring his young daughter for engine checks and other routine tasks at Rimer Volunteer Fire Department, the station just outside Concord they’ve both served for years.
Those past experiences set Ennis on a path that led to her current role: the County’s newest assistant fire marshal. It’s a perfect position for someone who has fire service in her blood.
Gray recalls the first time his daughter attempted to put on an air pack. “She knew exactly what to do,” he says. “No questions or anything … she just got it.”
As a teen, Ennis became a junior firefighter with Rimer, and “I just fell in love with it,” she says.
She continued as a volunteer, and later became a certified firefighter and EMT while earning a college degree in elementary education. Upon graduation, she began a career teaching third and fourth grades.
She enjoyed the job. But as it often does, fire service kept calling.
“By the end of my third year, I could just tell in my heart that (teaching elementary school) wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
She left her teaching role and found a home as a telecommunicator at the Charlotte Fire Department’s Communications Center. The job helped her understand a different facet of emergency response, she says.
All the while, Ennis maintained her role with Rimer and began creating fire safety education programs in conjunction with hers and other volunteer departments.
When the Cabarrus job opened, she was ready.
In the new role, Ennis will perform the regular duties of Cabarrus County Fire Service, including code enforcement, inspections, investigations and emergency response.
Her teaching experience will help bolster education efforts, says Fire Marshal Jacob Thompson. Ennis will work with departments countywide to develop safety education programs that cater to their unique areas.
“Preparation is as important as response,” Thompson said. “Having Ashleigh on the team will go a long way in helping keep Cabarrus families educated, and in turn, safe.”
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