TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — New Terre Haute Fire Chief, Bill Berry said he had no intention on even becoming a firefighter while attending Indiana State University. While pursuing a degree in journalism with plans on becoming a writer, he said one application and phone call changed his life forever.

“I had to go home and talk it over with my parent, my mom. I decided, ‘Well I’m going to go ahead and try this,’” he explained. “It’s been a ride over the last 28 years. It’s different sitting up here than sitting in the fire house. But it’s a good different.”

Berry stepped into his new role with many goals in mind like establishing a water rescue team out of Fire Station 2 on College Avenue. City officials are also working on plans to build a new fire station near State Road 46. But he said the number one mission is to better protect the public.

“Whatever we can do to better serve the public I’m interested in, that could be the water rescue team. We’ve established a grant writing team. If we can get some free money and take the burden off the tax payers, we’re going to do that,” Berry continued.

The 28-year veteran worked as paramedic, before being promoted to captain at fire station 2. He also served as interim chief before recently retired, Jeff Fisher took over the role in 2008.

Berry said he was honored to be named the new chief by Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett.

“I was a little nervous because I don’t want to fail him and I don’t want to fail myself and I don’t want to fail the members on the job.”