The Sweetwater Fire Department has recently promoted one of its own to Assistant Fire Chief. Paul King is the newest supervisor of his shift after the retirement of Jim Porter after 35 years of service.
King is an Intermediate Emergency Medical Technician and a firefighter, who has been with the Sweetwater Fire Department for 11 years.
King wanted to become a firefighter years ago to carry on a family tradition. King's sister, Tamera Williams is an EMT at Trent Volunteer Fire Department. His parents, Ray and Paula King, are also part of the Trent Volunteer Fire Department. His father is the Fire Chief and his mother is a paramedic. "My dad has volunteered all of his life," he added.
King says that he felt different when he got the position of Assistant Fire Chief. "I will be doing many of the same things that I already do as a firefighter and EMT, but also some different things as an assistant chief."
One of the things that will be different is that he will be the shift supervisor over six other firefighters. He will also be commanding officer on scenes until the fire chief arrives.
One of King's favorite things about being a firefighter is the camaraderie. "Working with these guys is like having a whole other family."
Being with the department for so long, King has also had a few memorable moments, with one of his most memorable being a Greyhound bus wreck between Sweetwater and Loraine several years ago. "There were so many patients," he said.
A memorable moment as a firefighter for King was last year's White Hat Fire. The blaze burned over 70,000 acres of land and many fire entities assisted in battling the blaze. "This was the biggest fire I have even been on."
To become an Assistant Fire Chief at the Sweetwater Fire Department, a firefighter must be with the department for at least four years and pass an examination with the highest score. A total of 10 firefighters tested for the position. "The test for Assistant Fire Chief is not given many times throughout a firefighter's career," said Sweetwater Fire Chief Grant Madden.
"Paul has already shown that he is going to be a great Assistant Chief with the department," said Madden. "He has great work ethic and works very hard for this department," he added.
King is a 1996 graduate of Merkel High School and a 2001 graduate of the San Angelo Fire Academy. He and his wife Casey King have one daughter, two-year-old Raylene King.