Thomas Carr Named Chief of Charleston Fire Department

Montgomery County, Md. Fire Chief Thomas Carr is the mayor's choice to replace Rusty Thomas.

Montgomery County, Md. Fire Chief Thomas Carr was named as the new fire chief of Charleston, S.C.

Mayor Joe Riley made his selection known during a press conference this morning. However, Charleston firefighters have said Carr had the edge.

Carr, who has 30 years experience in the fire service -- including the last four as chief of Montgomery County -- was one of 141 applicants who vied to fill the vacated position of Chief Rusty Thomas, who stepped down on the eve of the release of a controversial investigative report of his handling of a blaze that claimed nine firefighters.

The Charleston council will consider the mayor's selection at its next meeting on Oct. 7.

At a press conference Monday morning, Riley said: "My commitment from the beginning of this search was to bring to Charleston the best person in America to lead the 246 members of our fire department. In Tom Carr, I have achieved this goal. With his integrity, his character, his experience and his qualifications, he is the right man to lead our Fire Department at this time. Chief Carr's reputation in Fire Service in America is unsurpassed, and his leadership ability will help us take the Charleston Fire Department to the next level as the finest department in our country."

Carr, whose parents live in Charleston, told those gathered: "It is a great honor to be selected as Chief of the City of Charleston Fire Department. Charleston is well known as a wonderful and livable city and I have been impressed with the its strong fire rescue team. I am committed to bringing to Charleston the most progressive approaches of the Fire Service in United States. I look forward to working with the exceptional men and women of the City of Charleston Fire Department as we work together to make a great department better and the citizens of Charleston even safer..."

Before his departure, Thomas instituted a number of changes in the department as recommended by a panel of fire service experts appointed by Riley to examine the operation.

The panel was critical of the fire at the furniture store was handled, citing numerous failures including training and operations.