Fire Chief Retires After 31-years On The Job - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Fire Chief Retires After 31-years On The Job

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After 31-years and nine months on the job, Wichita Falls Fire Chief is heading into retirement. 

Chief Earl Foster never dreamed he would become a firefighter. Chief Foster said at age 17, he made a decision to find a job that turned into a career.

 In 1983, Chief Foster joined the Wichita Falls Fire Department and rose up the ranks, serving the Wichita Falls community in a number of capacities.

Nine of those years was spent as Fire Chief, but now he said it's time to hang up his hat.

"It's been great, Wichita Falls provided me with a lot of things. It gave me an opportunity to grow in the profession and as a person. It gave me a way to support my family over the years. So I'm thankful.  I'm thankful for the opportunity I had," said Chief Foster. 

During his tenure, he earned the respect of those he worked with and around the local community.

"Earl has been one of those firefighters that has always put the job first, community second and his family third,” said Glenn Barham, Mayor of Wichita Falls.

Assistant Chief John Reese worked alongside the Chief for many years.

“We learned a lot of things and i'm proud to be able to work side by side with him.  In our career we always want to leave the place better than when we got there and i think that he truly did,” said John Reese, new WFFD Interim Fire Chief.

Foster said he is ready to start a new chapter in his life, spending more time with his family.

 “The main goal is to travel and visit our children and our grandchildren a lot more often than we had. We're really looking forward to that,” said Chief Foster. 

However, Chief Foster said it was not an easy decision to make after spending over three decades in the department.

"I'll miss working with the firefighters.  I'll miss working with other members of city staff and other departments because we have a very close staff here in Wichita Falls. I'm going to miss helping  the citizens, trying to figure out a way to make our services better all around," said Chief Foster.

Chief Foster’s wife said should could not be more happy to have her husband back.

"It's just wonderful.  We're very blessed to be able to move forward and be able to do this at such an early age, be with family and start a new chapter in our lives," said Cindy Foster,  the chief’s wife.

The chief said to start his retirement, he and his family will be relocating to Granbury, where they will build a new home.

The city is currently accepting applications for the fire chief's position. Chief Foster said the city is looking at applicants from all around the country. One of the candidates is from within the department.

Assistant Chief John Reese has applied for the chief's position. However, until the city decides on a permanent replacement, he will serve as interim chief.

Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6