Following about a year-long interview process, Tim Soule was recently hired to be new fire chief for the Rural/Metro Fire Department in Yuma County.

Soule – who previously was an Incident Commander for large wildfires for the Bureau of Land Management out of Las Vegas – started on Sept. 15 and has been overseeing the company’s six stations and 90-plus employees the past two months.

“I love the fire service and I’m a civil servant who believes in community service,” Soule said. “My goal is to make Rural/Metro so valuable to the community that they can’t imagine us not being here. And that we are always there to answer the call and do whatever we can to make someone’s life better.”

He added, “I would love it if nobody ever referred to us as a business again. In my mind we are not a business, we are an emergency services organization.”

Soule was born in Virginia but raised in Maryland. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy, with an executive fire officer certificate, and the Senior Executive Institute from the University of Virginia with an emphasis on high performance organizations and leadership.

With a masters’ degree from Case Western Reserve University in social administration, his expertise lies in organizational behavior within fire-based EMS transport systems, leadership and professional development.

He is also a National Wildland Coordinating Group certified incident commander-Type 3, division supervisor and task force leader and has been deployed to numerous large wildfire events around the nation.

Soule also said that he is looking forward to the opportunity to serve the men and women who work for Rural/Metro by making sure they have the equipment and apparatus to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

“I’m really encouraged by the quality of people who work here. They are truly motivated to serve the community,” Soule said. “Our firefighters and paramedics have the same level of training, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities as any other department in the country.”

In addition to being a firefighter, Soule is also a paramedic and treated his first patient just weeks after his arrival. It happened during the the 17th Annual Public Safety Night in October when he put a Band-Aid on a small child’s knee while sitting on the bumper of a company ambulance.

Soule does more than sit behind a desk and make decisions; he also likes to respond to calls.

On Oct. 26 firefighters from Rural/Metro responded to a fire in Gadsden that destroyed two mobile homes, a travel-trailer and a boat being stored on an empty lot. Soule was there to help his firefighters clear the scene afterward by rolling up hoses and other tasks.

Soule, who was actually a social worker before becoming a firefighter, also shared a story about when he was six years old and Baltimore County firefighters brought him Christmas presents after his house burned down that December.

James Gilbert can be reached at jgilbert@yumasun.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.

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