City names Tate interim fire chief

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

DEMOPOLIS&045;Tommy Tate has been tapped to fill the fire chief role in an interim position after the retirement of George Davenport.

Tate was selected from among the captains at the Demopolis Fire Department to fill the position after Director of Public Safety Jeff Manuel talked with the department.

The public safety commission decided to allow Manuel to interview the captains of the department and choose the person he thought would do the best job.

Email newsletter signup

According to Moore, the council will begin their search for a full-time fire chief after Jan. 1.

He said that the council will most likely receive recommendations from Manuel for a new chief before the end of January.

Tate sat down with The Times for this week’s Q&Answer segment.

Why did you get into firefighting?

Probably the biggest reason I got into firefighting is the challenge. I knew it was pretty demanding, I liked the hours and I also liked the challenge. It is physically and mentally challenging.

How long have you been a firefighter and what kind of training have you received?

I have been one for 17 years. I started Jan. 1, 1990 here in Demopolis. My rookie school was in Selma, but I’ve been to a lot of others. We did a lot of in-house training here with the firefighter two &045; the different levels are firefighter one, firefighter two, driver operator, and aerial operator. You have advancement classes for things like HAZMAT. I have been to a specialist school. There are a number of classes you can take to keep learning.

How did you get into a position to receive the interim fire chief position?

They asked me if I would be interested in the position, and I told them I would.

Would you consider pursuing the full-time fire chief job when the city starts looking to fill the position?

It could be an option. I guess I’ll know a little bit more about that in the next three months.

What were your duties as a captain prior to your appointment to the interim position?

A captain is more like a line officer, which means that he is in charge of the fire grounds and the surrounding area. Captains work shifts, 24 hours on and 48 hours off. The chief works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What has been added to your previous duties sine becoming the interim fire chief?

I have been doing the payroll, the PO numbers, sick days and vacation. I have been meeting with the council, health meetings. We are also looking at opening a third station, and we are trying to finalize all the plans on that.

When you become chief do you relinquish control of the fire grounds?

You can be in control of the fire grounds. What happens is the captain on the scene will be in control when he gets there and then when the fire chief comes he can either relinquish control or the chief can stand back and help supervise with him. I can either take control as the chief or leave him, the captain on scene, in charge.

When you are sitting around a group of firefighters, what is one of the stories you like to tell?

There was a day where we had to go for a snake call and the captain didn’t know that we didn’t kill the snake and we were going to bring it back to the station. The snake that we caught wasn’t in a container or anything. One of the guys who happened to be sitting in the passenger seat was holding the snake’s neck with his two hands between his legs. The guy holding it didn’t realize it but the snake began wrapping its tail around the seat and it began pulling its head out of the man’s hands. We were going down Main Street at the time and the guy holding the snake said that it was time to stop the truck. So they stopped the truck and everybody jumped out before the snake could get loose.

Are you looking forward to your new position?

I am a little nervous but kind of excited too. There are a lot of new areas that I need to learn. I am looking forward to the challenge.