Huntington, W.Va. Fire Chief To Take On New Role

Huntington, W.V. Fire Chief Jan Rader is a central figure in the Netflix documentary short, Heroin(e).

A West Virginia fire chief who played a large part in her community’s response to the opioid epidemic is stepping into a new role.

Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader will become director of the Mayor’s Council on Public Health and Drug Control Policy next month, Mayor Steve Williams said Friday.

“We owe Chief Rader a debt of thanks for her leadership, her heart and her fortitude,” Williams said. “Fortunately, we are not saying goodbye to her. While she may be saying farewell to the fire service, she will continue to assist our efforts in the battle against substance use disorder and the ongoing public health challenges facing our city, state and nation. We aren’t done yet.”

Rader has served as a Huntington firefighter for more than 27 years and became the state’s first professional fire chief in 2017.

Last year Rader testified in a landmark trial filed by the city of Huntington and Cabell County against three large drug distributors about the growing number of overdoses first responders handled over the past decade. She recounted how pill bottles were at the scenes of so many calls.

Rader’s emergency response to drug overdoses was featured in the 2017 film “Heroin(e),” which also included a Cabell County judge and a ministry leader. It was released by Netflix and nominated for the Academy Award for best documentary short subject.