Los Banos Fire Chief Tim Marrison is retiring after 31 years of fighting fires and saving lives, giving way to a new chief as the department looks at building a new station and staffing more firefighters.
The Los Banos Fire Department announced the 51-year-old chief’s retirement Wednesday in a Facebook post. Marrison will officially retire on Oct. 28.
Assistant Fire Chief Mason Hurley was selected by City Manager Alex Terrazas to fill Marrison’s shoes after a two-month evaluation process.
Marrison said he knew since he took over the fire department as chief in 2014 that he was going to retire in a handful of years as he approached 30 years with the city.
“I’m fortunate I had people working in the fire department that knew that and helped me accomplish things,” Marrison said, crediting many of his achievements to fire department and city staff.
Marrison first started working for the city as a volunteer firefighter in 1986, according to his resume. The fire chief at the time, Chet Guintini, selected Marrison as the second-ever full-time firefighter in 1988.
In 1991, Marrison was promoted as a lead fire engineer. He became a captain in 1994. In 2002, Marrison was promoted to assistant chief.
As the fire chief for three years, Marrison oversaw the creation of a public safety fueling station at the Fire Station #1. He also facilitated the purchase of a new fire truck.
Throughout his career, Marrison said he has seen the evolution of the city’s fire response team from a strictly volunteer organization to a department with a full-time force and strong volunteer support.
That volunteer support is something Marrison hoped the next chief would understand.
“I was concerned that if the city opened the position, the person hired may not have understood the importance of supporting our volunteers,” said Marrison, adding that he was happy with Terrazas’ choice for Hurley as the next chief.
Marrison was confident that Hurley can lead the department as more staffing is needed and plans for a new fire department shape up.
“I was looking for someone that could lead the fire department into the future,” Terrazas said Wednesday, adding that Hurley’s experience and background made him the best candidate for the position. “He’ll make a great addition to the city’s management team.”
Marrison, who is almost done publishing a book on the history of the Los Banos Fire Department, said he plans to spend the first six months of his retirement “happily unemployed,” traveling to Nevada and Michigan to spend time with his daughters and grandchildren.
Marrison also said he hasn’t ruled out expanding his role as an adjunct professor at Merced College in Los Banos, and as a consultant for private contractors.
Mayor Mike Villalta said Wednesday that Marrison earned the highest praise after he picked up right where retired Chief Chet Guintini left off.
“I’m sorry to see him go,” Villalta said Wednesday. “But I’m happy to see him retire on his own terms.”
Hurley said it was an honor to work for Marrison.
“Those are big shoes to fill,” he said.
Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562