Des Moines Fire Department Promotions Break Color Barrier

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DES MOINES, Iowa --  Friday marked a historic day for the Des Moines Fire Department.

Three firefighters received promotions to District Fire Chief Officers and two of them are the first African Americans in that role in the department’s 132-year history. Fire Chief John TeKippe promoted captains Steve Brown and Percy Coleman.

Kerry Schneider was the third to be promoted.

Coleman says this moment means the department has come a long way

"There's good things happening in the city...it’s a increasingly diverse city with a lot of things going on. I'm just really excited to be a part of this chief officer staff and look forward to good things,” says Percy.

The department hired its first black firefighter nearly 50 years ago.