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We wish a happy retirement to the Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive, Chris Blacksell, as he retires following nearly 35 years of service and dedication to our communities across the Humber.

Former Chief leaving the front of HQ with staff applauding after 34 years service

We welcome the appointments of the next Chief and Deputy Chief to lead Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) from 15 October 2022.

Our next Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive is Phil Shillito, who was confirmed at the Authority’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday, 10 June 2022.

Phil has worked within the fire and rescue service for 34 years, initially at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, before transferring to HFRS in 2016 as Director of Public Safety. Phil later became the Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 2020.

Phil commented on his appointment: “It has been a privilege working at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service alongside Chief Fire Officer Chris Blacksell.

“I’m honoured to follow him as Chief when he leaves later this year and progress the great work the Service is doing.

“From our fantastic partnership working, to delivering our vision of safer communities and safer firefighters, there is so much great work to continue.”

Working alongside Phil is Niall McKiniry, who the Authority confirmed as our next Deputy Chief Fire Officer and Executive Director of Service Delivery, at its meeting on Friday, 22 July 2022.

Niall has worked within the fire and rescue service since joining HFRS in 1995. He has served at various fire stations including Bridlington, East Hull, Scunthorpe and Hull Central, in addition to a variety of specialist roles at Service Headquarters. He was promoted to the role of Director in 2016, in 2019 he became the Director of Service Improvement and in 2021 he was appointed to the position of Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

Niall commented on his appointment: “It has been a privilege working alongside Deputy Fire Chief Phil Shillito and Chief Fire Officer Chris Blacksell, helping to keep our communities across the Humber safe and well."

“I will continue to support Phil as the Service’s next Chief, working to progress the great work the Service is already achieving.”

The appointment of our next Assistant Chief Fire Officer and Executive Director of Corporate Services is still subject to Fire Authority approval at its next meeting on 4 November 2022, however, the Service can confirm that following a rigorous selection process, the Appointments Committee met on Friday 30 September 2022, and has recommended to the Fire Authority the appointment of Matthew Sutcliffe to fill this position.

All three senior leaders
Left to right: Niall, Phil and Matt
Chris Blacksell
Former Chief, Chris Blacksell

Chris Blacksell said: “I’m delighted by the appointments of Phil and Niall, and the recommendation of Matt as Assistant Chief Fire Officer. Their leadership, along with the rest of the Strategic Leadership Team, will support HFRS in continuing to provide the best possible service to everyone who lives, works and visits the Humber region.

“I am incredibly proud of staff’s professionalism and dedication to the Service and to the communities we serve, and I would like to thank them for the hard work they do every single day.

“HFRS has been rated ‘Good’ in the latest round of inspections by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services and praised for its work to keep communities safe from fire and create a fair and inclusive workplace.

“Our communities can be assured that the Service prepares for and responds quickly and effectively to emergency incidents, and that the service we provide is managed efficiently.”