BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
After a yearlong vacancy, City Manager Jim Chisholm has appointed Dru R. Driscoll as Daytona Beach’s new fire chief.
Driscoll began his employment as the city’s 19th fire chief on Monday. Residents had voiced their displeasure at multiple city commission meetings over the time the city was without a chief.
The job opening ran from March 27 to May 3 of last year after former chief James Bland, now the fire chief of neighboring Holly Hill, retired. Fifty-three people applied – 24 from Florida and 29 from out of state.
Among those applying for the job was Daytona Beach Fire Department employee Lt. Larry Stoney Jr. If chosen, Stoney would have been the second Black to hold the position in the city’s history.
Grew up here
Driscoll, 36, began his public safety career as a firefighter for the City of Daytona Beach in January 1999. After serving as a firefighter from 1999 to 2004, Driscoll held several progressively responsible positions for the department to include his most recent assignment as the interim fire chief since April 2013.
Growing up in the Daytona Beach area, Driscoll graduated from Seabreeze High School and is a Daytona Beach resident. He holds an associate degree in fire science and anticipates getting his Bachelor of Science in public safety in July 2014, according to the application he submitted for the job.
In addition to Driscoll’s several certifications, he is a graduate of the Emergency Services Leadership Institute (Florida Fire Chief’s Association) and a graduate of Leadership Daytona, a three-month course offered by the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce on various aspects of the Daytona Beach area and to enhance one’s personal leadership skills as well.
“It is an honor to represent the 106 men and women of the Daytona Beach Fire Department as we continue our mission to serve this community with unwavering commitment,” said Driscoll.
The city’s first Black fire chief, Dwayne A. Murray, held the position for just a year – from January 2007 to January 2008. He was the city’s 16th fire chief.
He came to Daytona Beach after retiring from a 24-year career with the fire department in Birmingham, Ala.
In March 2010, Stoney was promoted as the department’s public information officer where he is responsible for working with the media to disseminate information to the public on various activities and initiatives of the fire department.
He has 11 years with the department, serving as a firefighter, driver/engineer, lieutenant, chaplain and critical incident stress team leader.
Serving the city since 1909, the Daytona Beach Fire Department responds annually to 19,000 calls for service providing fire protection services and advanced life support from seven strategically located fire stations throughout the city.