“Chief Smith will lead Tuscaloosa’s fire and rescue programs to new heights,” Maddox said in a statement. “With his emphasis on safety, integrity, and growth, he will be a great leader and make the welfare of our community his top priority.”
During the announcement, held at Tuscaloosa’s Fire Station Four, Maddox emphasized the importance of the position.
“When you select a fire chief, you are not only selecting a department head of the city, you are selecting someone that literally has the lives of 250 firefighters and potentially 100,000 citizens in their hands,” Maddox said.
Smith previously served as the deputy fire chief for the City of Mobile Fire-Rescue Department, where he has worked since 1987. He said he’s excited to get to work in Tuscaloosa.
“This is a great community, and this is a great department,” Smith said. “I can’t tell you how honored and humbled I am to be here working with you.”
Smith has 31 years in fire and rescue services. He has also served as the team commander for a federal disaster medical team since 2002, providing disaster response to multiple national security special events, the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and numerous hurricanes.
Smith holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama and a master’s degree from Jacksonville State University in emergency management.
Smith’s predecessor, Chief Alan Martin, announced his retirement in January after serving in the position since 2002, and in the fire service for over four decades.