Fire Chief Announces Retirement

After 40 years as a First Responder and 14 as head of Tallahassee's Fire Department, Chief Tom Quillin is hanging up his hat, but the chief's retirement party is on hold for another six months.

City officials say they asked the chief to stay on until January 1 to help ensure a smooth transition. Chief Quillin says he happily agreed.

“He's done a lot for the department, wish him best. It's a well deserved retirement for him. He was the chief that hired me and promoted me.”

For Judy Davison and her fellow firefighters, saying good-bye to their chief is like saying good-bye to family.

“Whenever you lose something as a team it's going to be damaged for a while.”

After 14 years of leadership Chief Tom Quillin is saying farewell, leaving behind a staff of 266 people and a superior fire fighting team.

Chief Tom Quillin says, “We've accomplished a lot since I came. We started providing advanced life support in April.”

But the show must go on. City officials are beginning the recruitment process searching high and low for someone to fill the chief's boots.

Tom Coe, Assistant City Manager of Tallahassee, says, “We'll search the entire country to find the best person for the job.”

Mayor John Marks adds, “I'm sure we'll find a replacement, but he's a difficult person to replace.”

Chief Quillin says he's sad to go but as he approaches his 60th birthday he says it's the perfect time.

“I want to relax, maybe find another job, but don't have any definite plans.”

City officials say the recruitment process for this high profile job usually takes four to six months. As you heard they'll search nationwide to find the perfect match and that person will earn a salary of about $90,000.

The union did not want to comment on the chief's track record with the department. It's offering to assist in recruiting a new chief and wish the chief and his family the best of luck.