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“I have a serious passion for serving the community and I am excited to bring that passion to Tallahassee, the TFD and the citizens it serves.”

Fort Wayne firefighter to be Tallahassee chief

Statement as issued Monday by the Fort Wayne Fire Department:

FORT WAYNE, IND., June 9, 2014 – On June 27, Jerome Gaines will retire from the Fort Wayne Fire Department. While relaxation is typically in order for a new retiree, it’s not in the cards for Gaines. On June 30, 2014, Gaines will begin his new career as the City of Tallahassee’s Fire Chief.

Announced June 4, Gaines, a 30-year veteran of the Fort Wayne Fire Department, takes the helm in Tallahassee after Tallahassee Fire Department (TFD) Chief Cindy Dick announced her retirement in March of 2013 after serving for 26 years. The department has been led by several interim chiefs since then.

Gaines will manage 280 employees and command TFD with a $33 million budget, similar to the department he is a member of now.

“It is bittersweet to be leaving the Fort Wayne Fire Department and the community we have called home for more than 30 years,” said Gaines. “Yet, Tallahassee is a great city that is growing and has been very welcoming to myself and my family. As Chief, I have the opportunity to take all the things I’ve learned during my career and apply them to the Tallahassee Fire Department.”

Throughout his career with the Fort Wayne Fire Department, Gaines has served in many capacities, including Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Shift Commander, and Assistant Chief of Operations. Gaines holds a Bachelor of Science in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University and has graduated from the National Fire Academy Arson Investigation Program, the Allen County, Ind., Police Academy and the National Fire Academy Chief Officer Leadership Program.

“It is a tremendous opportunity I’m truly humbled and honored to come down to be the chief of a department I already consider to be a class department,” he said. “I have a serious passion for serving the community and I am excited to bring that passion to Tallahassee, the TFD and the citizens it serves.”

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