Johnson retires as fire marshal

After more than 20 years serving Town of Farragut as fire marshal, Dan Johnson resigned at the end of January.

“An opportunity has risen (in the Greater Knoxville area) and I made a decision to depart my 21-plus years with the Town,” said Johnson, a Rural Metro Fire employee contracted with the Town. “I’m looking forward to the new challenges associated with it.”

He is among four Town staff who have taken other opportunities: assistant engineer Brannon Tupper, who has worked with the Town just shy of two years, also has accepted another position, as has Public Works foreman Cameran McGhee, who has been with the Town almost six years, and Joe LaCroix, who has been IT manager for six years. Additionally, Parks and Recreation director Sue Stuhl is retiring this year.

Johnson will be replaced by firefighter Charles Wilson, who has been with Rural Metro Fire for five years and in fire service for 30 years.

“It’s great,” Johnson said of Wilson. “He’s been working here … doing a part-time project-specific items.”

Johnson has accepted a position at University and Battelle Memorial Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

In his new role, Johnson will remain in the fire protection field — however, not with Rural Metro Fire, he noted.

“The opportunity I am moving toward is employment in a similar line of work,” Johnson said. “It will involve fire protection. However, it will not be enforcing codes from the aspect of municipality, as I have been doing here.

“It’s a change,” he added. “I’m filled with excitement and some nervousness, but I’m looking forward to it. And I think, after 20 years, it’s definitely a positive move.

“I feel that I have helped facilitate some very positive work in the area of fire safety within the community in my duration here.”

“Dan has been a valued part of the Town of Farragut team working with Rural Metro for over 21 years,” Town administrator David Smoak said. “As fire marshal, he has kept the community safe by ensuring new residential and commercial construction are built to the standards of the building code, which we sometimes can take for granted. We’ve enjoyed working with Dan and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

“In my time here, I have had a lot of great opportunities and experienced a great deal of change in the Farragut community,” Johnson said. “I feel that I have been a supportive part of that — to maintain the safety of the residents and visitors within the community.”

“It was a difficult decision to make, but I feel it’s the time for me to move on and hand the reins over to somebody else,” Johnson added.

Through the years with Farragut, he had experienced many firsts.

“I hadn’t been working here very long, maybe less than six months, before we had our first condominium fire,” Johnson recalled. “I had been in fire investigation, fire prevention and fire protection for several years before that, but being the primary person responsible for the investigation and follow up was a great experience.”

He was with the Town for two years when it experienced the train derailment in 2001.

“That was another experience that I will not soon forget,” Johnson said. “I have seen the Town grow from one of a lot of single-story, smaller commercial buildings to some large shopping centers and a great deal of the development of the Turkey Creek portion that’s within the Town, which was developed while I was here.”

During Johnson’s tenure with the Town, there has not been a fatality from a fire.

“I feel that is a great thing, and I think that is definitely due to the adoption and enforcement of fire and building codes to provide a safer environment for the residents and visitors of the Town,” he said.