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James City County names first Fire Chief to rise from department's firefighter ranks

Date: August 9, 2005
Contact: Ruth Richey, Communications Specialist

Phone: (757) 253-6864


County Administrator Sandy Wanner has named Tal Luton as the Fire Department's new Chief. Luton is the first chief to rise from the ranks of firefighter to the top position in the history of the department. He had been serving as Acting Fire Chief since May 1. His new position will start Aug. 10.


"The County is fortunate that we had strong internal candidates for this position," County Administrator Wanner said. "Tal is a proven leader who has a strong commitment to James City County. I am confident that he will continue to build on the Fire Department's strengths as well as effectively provide leadership for new directions."


Through the County's succession management program, Luton has held increasingly responsible positions. He started with the department in 1980 as a firefighter at the Grove Station. After promotion to Lieutenant in 1983 and later Captain, he worked as a company commander at Station 4 on Olde Towne Road. In 1994, he became District Chief and was assigned as the Shift Commander for "A" shift until 1998. He then was named Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Manager as well as Public Information Officer (PIO) for the department. He was named Acting Deputy Chief in 2003 and then Deputy Fire Chief in June 2004.


Luton holds Virginia certifications as an Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Instructor IV, Fire Inspector, Emergency Planner, Building Construction for Fire Suppression Forces, Public Information Officer and in Hazardous Material Operations.


Luton has attended executive level residence courses at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., with studies in Public Budgeting, Management of Change in Organizations, Incident Command and Strategic Executive Planning. He studied fire science at Tidewater Community College and attended Christopher Newport University.


Luton is an active member of the Virginia State Fire Chiefs Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Virginia Emergency Management Association, Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Fire Protection Association. He and his wife reside in James City County.


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