CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The City of Corpus Christi has a new fire chief.
Brandon Wade, a 24-year-veteran of the Austin Fire Department, was named the city's top fire official Friday morning during a news conference.
Wade currently commands the Austin Fire Department's Operations Division -- also known as their Emergency Response Division -- a team of more than 900 employees, according to city manager Peter Zanoni.
He also is responsible for 51 fire stations in Austin, more than double the number of all Corpus Christi fire houses.
Zanoni said Wade has held every rank on his journey to asst. fire chief, including experience at the helm of communications and dispatch, special operations -- which includes hazardous materials -- medical operations, technical response, water rescue, recruiting and fleet management.
"We wanted a leader that can inspire young firefighters, cadets, that it is a great thing to go to work every day," Zanoni said. "That this is a great job, a great profession, that we care about the community, that we care about making ourselves better as firefighter professionals. That we care about making our community safe and that our community knows we're here for them. That takes inspiration. That takes somebody with charisma to demonstrate that to their employees . . . and he has that. That's not necessarily something that everybody has and it's not something, necessarily, that you can learn. It's an innate skill."
The national search started after former chief Robert Rocha retired in January.
Last week, Coastal Bend residents got a chance to meet the four finalists up for the Corpus Christi Fire chief position.
The finalists included Wade from Austin, Daniel Salazar from Dallas, Sam Pena from Houston, and Richie Quintero -- who is the current interim fire chief.
Quintero had been in charge since former chief Robert Rocha retired in January 2023. Quintero has been serving as the deputy chief since 2010, and has been with CCFD for the last 29 years.
Rocha led the fire department for 11 years.
3NEWS spoke with Johnny Stobbs, President of Corpus Christi Professional Firefighters Association - who says every call he's gotten since city council knew the position was Wade's, has been nothing but positive.
"I think one thing that firefighters look for, is leadership. Everything that I've heard and know about Chief Wade, I think he really brings that leadership wherever he goes," Stobbs said.
Zanoni said he is excited to equip the Corpus Christi Fire Department with Wade's skillset.
"Rising up through every rank in the fire department, he truly knows how to manage and lead teams to have public safety a top priority," he said.
Stobbs says, finding the right leadership for a great team is the best way to serve the community.
"I think as firefighters we're looking for someone whose, he's gonna lead from the front, tip of spear type stuff. That's what we look forward to," he said. "There's a wonderful, awesome group of guys and girls here, that works for this department. He's gonna fit in perfect, and we're looking forward to working with him."
City council will have to confirm this appointment.
Something they plan to do during next Tuesday’s council meeting.
Digital director Ana Tamez contributed to this developing story. Stay with 3NEWS for updates.
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