DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – After approximately nine months, the City of Decatur has a new fire chief. In fact, Tuesday is Tony Grande’s second day on the job. He’s a former Battalion Chief with the Knoxville Fire Department. WHNT News 19 sat down to get acquainted with the new man in charge.
Fire Chief Tony Grande comes to Decatur with 29 years of experience as a firefighter. Decatur firefighters we spoke with say they’re glad to finally have someone in the position and they’re anxious to see what kind of leader he will be.
“I set my tone as quickly as I can by trying to involve people in a common goal. And a common goal is to provide the citizens of Decatur with the best service that we possibly can given the resources that we have,” Grande says.
Chief Grande says he knows there are issues to address within the department, and says those issues will be addressed.
“I can’t affect the past. There’s no way to change the past. So let me walk in the first day and step forward and work my way forward, again given the resources that we have and we’ll work through it, we’ll work our way through it.”
Chief Grande says he intentionally ignored news accounts about issues within the department such as talk about closing Station 4 or morale issues among the firefighters. He says he wanted to come into the job with no preconceived notions about what he would find. A fresh start, for Chief Grande and the Decatur Fire Department.
Decatur Mayor Don Kyle has said publicly he favors closing Station 4, which is home to the city’s two ladder trucks.