Horry County Fire Chief Alderman steps down

Horry County Fire/Rescue Chief Garry Alderman stepped down Friday morning.

In an email to the department Alderman said, "After a lot of thought and consideration, I have recently asked to be reassigned to another position within Fire Rescue because of personal and medical reasons..... Once again THANK YOU for everything you have done for both the Department and ME."

Horry County released the following statement:

"Horry County Fire/Rescue Chief Garry Alderman has asked to be reassigned within the department due to personal reasons. That request has been accepted and Alderman will become the new Director of Support Services, beginning on Monday, April 16. Deputy Fire Chief Kenneth Beans will assume the Interim Fire Chief position until a permanent Fire Chief is selected.

Alderman will oversee the fire department's budget, building and grounds maintenance, fleet maintenance, materials management and Information Technology/GIS. This position will report directly to the Fire Chief."

Beans has been Horry County's Deputy Fire Chief for the past eight years. He told NewsChannel 15 he has lived every little boy's dream: he was a police officer and then became a fireman.

Most of Bean's 40-plus years in public service were in Chester County, Pennsylvania. But he's been Horry County's Deputy Fire Chief since 2004. He will become interim chief next Monday.

Beans said there won't be many apparent changes as he takes over. But with the county budget process underway, he will be fighting for more resources.

"We can always do a better job if we have some additional funding, if we have additional personnel," Beans said. "Our fleet of apparatus right now is currently in pretty poor shape."

Beans said as chief, he will stress training for firefighters and will work to strengthen the fire department's relationship with Horry County Council.

He said it'll be a little awkward to have Alderman, who used to be his boss, now reporting to him instead. But, he says, it'll be good to have the former chief on staff.

"He's a valuable asset and he brings a lot to the table and I will certainly be consulting with him on occasion."

Those who have worked with Alderman over the years are wishing him well.

"We support him," said Asst. Fire Chief Justin Gibbins. "He's been an excellent chief, very supportive. He's done a great job for us. We wish him a bright future with his family."

Alderman is taking some time off and was not available for comment Friday.

Public Safety Director Paul Whitten will be in charge of hiring a new chief, which is expected to take several months.