Russellville City Fire Chief Billy Poole has announced his retirement after 15 years of service. His official retirement will be July 31, as he will be staying on long enough to train the new chief, who has yet to be determined.
“I am excited, sad and happy,” said Poole of his leaving the fire department. “I have just about every emotion you could possibly have going through my head. I will miss the excitement and camaraderie the most, and I have enjoyed leading the finest group of individuals in fire service.”
Poole began working for the city department in 1999 and served as chief since 2007 after the retirement of chief J.L. Williamson. Before Poole became a firefighter, he served as the Adairville Chief of Police for 14 years. He also spent six years in the United States Army.
“I have been in emergency services my entire adult life,” said Poole, who is ready to relax and enjoy spending time on his hobby of refurbishing older cars, and spending time in Florida on the beach with his wife.
Poole said the department has faced and overcome unprecedented challenges over the years, but they have all worked through the challenges, and have become a better department as a result.
“The challenges have taken a toll on me and my family and it is time to let the next generation continue to build upon what we together have started,” said Poole. The Russellville City Fire Department has come a long was in a short period of time, and I would like to see that continue through the competent and caring leadership of the council and mayor to guide the department into the future.”
Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton says chief Poole has been an asset to the city and all its citizens.
“The Russellville Fire Department has seen many changes while under the command of chief Poole,” said mayor Stratton. “As training and requirements have increased, chief Poole has meet the challenges and continued to move the department forward. The fire department supplies both, first responding medical attention and fire protection to this city and its citizens. Billy, along with the fire department personnel, have made the department one of the elite in the state. We thank chief Poole for his dedication and leadership to the City of Russellville and fire department, and wish him the best in the future.”
Poole says the next chief will face challenges that are seen across the country as fire departments are responsible for more medical responses than ever before. Poole added that firefighting will continue to be what they do, just not what they spend most of their time on.
“Training is becoming more and more important due to changing in building construction, technology and even the trucks and equipment they use everyday. It’s evolving quickly and the next fire department leader will have to evolve with it,” said Poole. “There is still work to be done, but I know the council and mayor will continue to support and take care of the Russellville City Fire Department, and I can leave knowing it is in good hands.”