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Gene Sanders is sworn in as the Tallahassee Fire Department's new chief

Tallahassee Fire Department Chief Gene Sanders
Courtesy of the City of Tallahassee
Courtesy of the City of Tallahassee
Tallahassee Fire Chief Gene Sanders

Tallahassee’s new fire chief, Gene Sanders, was sworn in Friday morning. He started at the Tallahassee Fire Department as a volunteer and steadily rose through the ranks.

He most recently served as TFD’s Deputy Chief of Operations. He’s also managed the department’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force and its Hazardous Materials Task Force. He led TFD in special deployments like the Surfside building collapse and the response to Hurricane Ian.

At his swearing-in ceremony, Sanders vowed to lead with integrity.

“I believe that open and honest communication builds trust and credibility,” he said. “I will be a chief that is approachable. I will be a chief that is attentive to our members and to day-to-day operations. I have always had an open door, and my door will always be open.”  

Sanders was surrounded by family, colleagues and friends.

“We will honor public trust with ethical behavior," he told them. "We will lead with integrity at every level. And we will promote and celebrate diversity. It is my belief that to serve a community, you must first know a community.”

Sanders grew up on Tallahassee’s south side, attending Nims Middle School and Rickards High School. He has an Associate of Arts degree in fire science and a bachelor’s degree in fire department administration.

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Margie Menzel covers local and state government for WFSU News. She has also worked at the News Service of Florida and Gannett News Service. She earned her B.A. in history at Vanderbilt University and her M.S. in journalism at Florida A&M University.