Former Atlanta Fire Chief Joel Baker picked to lead Austin Fire Department
Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk has selected Joel Baker to be the next Fire Chief for the Austin Fire Department.
Baker has more than 30 years of experience as a firefighter in the Atlanta area, most recently serving as the Fire Chief for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.
“I’m excited to announce Joel Baker as my selection to be the new fire chief and I look forward to welcoming him to the City of Austin,” said Cronk. “Chief Baker’s dedication to public service, vast experience, and demonstrated leadership in Atlanta are all reasons I am proud to have him lead our fire department to keep our residents and community safe. I am grateful to the stakeholders and the community for their contributions to the hiring process.”
Baker began his fire career with the East Point, Ga. Fire Department, an Atlanta suburb, in 1986. Two years later, he joined the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department. During his career in Atlanta he served as Lieutenant in the Field Operations division and the fire training academy, Captain of the department’s Hazardous Material/Technical Rescue Unit, Deputy Fire Chief for Airport Operations, Assistant Chief to the Office of Support Services, and finally as fire chief (Photo below).
Baker served as a Marine before beginning his firefighting career. Additionally, he served for 10 years in the Navy Reserve. Baker has an Associate Degree in Applied Fire Science, Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Development, and Master of Public Administration.
“Austin is a fantastic city and I am looking forward to the next chapter of my career in Texas,” said Baker. “I am excited and proud to begin leading the more than 1,000 members of the Austin Fire Department who work each day to keep the community safe.”
Baker’s confirmation by the Austin City Council will be considered on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Pending confirmation, he will start on Monday, December 10, 2018.
This selection follows the July departure of Rhoda Mae Kerr, who served as Austin Fire Chief for nine years. Interim Chief Tom Dodds will continue to lead the department until Baker’s arrival in Austin.
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