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To say Virginia’s Petersburg Fire Department is a fixer-upper is an understatement. And, according to news reports, the man they have hired to fix it up is a veteran fire service leader — Dennis Rubin.
The City of Petersburg is facing extremely tough financial issues that have taken a toll on the fire department’s staff, apparatus and other equipment. How bad has it been? It’s new SCBAs were repossessed for non-payment last year.
Rubin, who had a tough time landing a fire chief’s job after his run in Washington, DC ended, most recently had been fire chief in De Pere, Wisconsin.
Since his departure from the Nation’s Capital The Rube has been selling his book “DC Fire.” It chronicles his experience as chief of the DC Fire & EMS Department. My review of the book gave high marks to the solid chapters on hiring practices and the DC’s trouble-plagued high school cadet program. My view is the rest of the book is worthwhile only if you’re really, really interested in Dennis Rubin and want to hear about some of the people who wronged him in DC.
This brings us to our moment of full disclosure: I’m one of a number of folks Rubin pretty clearly described in the book but never actually named as he related rather negative and not always accurate stories. But I’ve also recognized publicly why The Rube felt the need to settle scores, at least with me (can’t speak for the others).
Rubin was the very first and most frequently mentioned fire chief in the 10-year history of STATter911 (if my search is accurate, this will make 248 separate posts — a bit obsessive, don’t you think?). Sometimes good stories. Sometimes bad ones. But almost always interesting. I’m sure being under such a microscope got old and possibly frustrating.
What’s much more important now is that the Petersburg Fire Department needs good leadership (and lots of money). Here’s hoping this is a good match for both Dennis Rubin and the citizens of Petersburg. They need to get the fire department back on its feet. And if The Rube is able to do that well, watch for the book “Petersburg Fire” — coming to a fire convention near you.
Petersburg has hired a new Fire Department chief, and it’s not the interim chief, according to sources.
Dennis Rubin has been appointed the new Fire Chief of Petersburg Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services.
Rubin has served as fire chief in Washington, D.C. and De Pere, WI. He wrote several books based on his experience discussing leadership techniques.
The Washington D.C. native has over 30 years in fire service, according to his website. He was fire chief in Norfolk from 2001 to 2002 and chief of Atlanta Fire and Rescue from 2003 to 2007.
He then worked as the fire chief in Washington, D.C. from 2007 until resigning in 2011 when the mayor who appointed him left office.
He has also written three books about leadership and his experiences in fire service.
Rubin will replace T.C. Hairston, who announced his resignation in September of 2016 after 36 years with the department.
Interim fire chief Brian Sturdivant has been reclassified as executive fire chief.