It’s all smiles around the fire house now after hearing the news of a new fire chief for Prosper. The smiles come after a sadness following long-time Fire Chief Ronnie Tucker’s announcement of his impending retirement (August 31).
Applications were sought and people had to be interviewed to be sure the very best possible person was taking over the top chief spot at the Prosper Fire Department. The wait was hard on department members and others as Blasingame received notes and calls of encouragement. Last Friday, the decision was made and announced that Prosper’s own Assistant Fire Chief Stuart Blasingame would take over the top spot effective September 1.
Tucker’s leaving has been a source of sadness for department members and the towns’ people alike since he announced his coming retirement earlier in the year. The anticipation of who would take over the top spot has been a source of anxiety for many. But all of that was cleared up on Friday when Town Manager Harlan Jefferson called Blasingame to his office to give him the long-awaited news.
“The continuity of leadership that Chief Blasingame brings to the department is invaluable,” Jefferson said in a press release. “I expect the department to continue to operate at the same high level that Chief Tucker established. I’m certain that the department will continue to maintain those standards under Chief Blasingame.”
Chief Tucker was the department’s first compensated Fire Chief after having served among the various volunteer chiefs in the department’s history. He closes out a 42-year career in the fire service, 25 of which were spent with the Prosper Fire Department.
Blasingame said after he got the news, he wanted his wife Michelle to be the first person he talked to about it. “I’m sure glad she picked up right away because I’m not sure how long I might have been able to hold onto that news,” he said. After that, Blasingame posted the announcement on Facebook to which there have been more than 1,000 responses and reactions from well-wishers.
Perry Waller, former president of the Prosper Chamber of Commerce wrote “One great man replaced by another great man.”
When asked about the new position, Blasingame smiles and says he’s ready. He complimented Tucker’s management style and pointed out that Blasingame has been a part of the decision-making process for several years. He’s ready now to lead the department because of Tucker’s leadership practices.
Chief Blasingame has been a member of the Prosper Fire Department for 15 years, having served as Assistant Fire Chief for the last five years. Prior to his appointment as second in command, he served as Battalion Chief for a year, and Captain for six years. He joined the department in September of 2002 as a firefighter/paramedic after serving in Frisco as battalion chief. He said he took a pay cut to start all over in the Prosper ranks.
Before joining the Prosper Fire Department, he was a member of the Frisco Fire Department, having served as firefighter/paramedic for a year before attaining the rank of Lieutenant, where he served for two years.
The new Fire Chief earned an associate of applied science degree in Fire Administration from Weatherford College, and completed the requirement for Certified Public Manager from a program administered by Texas State University.
He is a Certified Fire Executive, a designation conferred by the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy, and is fully licensed as an Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic. He has attained four levels in the Certified Fire Officer program of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. The Commission has also certified the Chief as a Master Firefighter, Fire Service Instructor at all three levels, Hazardous Material Technician, Wildland Firefighter, Incident Safety Officer, Fire Service Driver/Operator, and Department Training Officer/Coordinator.
He has also attended the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland where he completed courses in Command and Control of Incident Operations, Command and Control of Decision Making at Multiple Alarm Incidents, Command and Control of Fire Department Operations at Target Hazards, along with Fire Protection Systems for Emergency Operations, and Incident Command Systems for High-rise Operations.
The Prosper resident is married and the father of two sons, active in school and sports.
Joyce Godwin | Joyce@CedarbrookMedia.com