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Tue, Aug. 20

Martinez begins process to become Deputy Fire Chief

Courier/Les Stukenberg
Soon-to-be Prescott Fire Deputy Chief Bruce Martinez, right, and Battalion Chief Don Devendorf look at a photocopy of the photo of a missing five-year old Monday afternoon. Martinez will replace retiring Chief Paul Laipple in November.

Courier/Les Stukenberg Soon-to-be Prescott Fire Deputy Chief Bruce Martinez, right, and Battalion Chief Don Devendorf look at a photocopy of the photo of a missing five-year old Monday afternoon. Martinez will replace retiring Chief Paul Laipple in November.

PRESCOTT - Throughout his 22-year career in the fire service, Bruce Martinez has aspired to a top management job.

After many years of patience, diligence, hard work and striving to be the best, Martinez will succeed Paul Laipple, who is retiring in November, as Deputy Chief of the Prescott Fire Department (PFD). The deputy chief helps Chief Darrell Willis with daily operations of the fire department.

“He’s definitely a good choice,” Laipple said of Martinez. “He’s committed to continue to improve the Prescott Fire Department.”

Joining the department as a reserve firefighter in 1987, Martinez has climbed up through the ranks of the PFD. As a battalion chief for the past six years, Martinez supervised a shift and served as the department’s communications and training director.

Laipple, who has been with the department for 29 years and totals 33 years of a fire service experience, said Martinez is well suited for an administrative role. “It’s a change, but we have all the confidence in the world in him.”

Martinez is a Prescott High School graduate who transferred to the school during his senior year when his family moved to Prescott from Southern California. He worked in construction for four years, before following his brother, Brian, into the fire service. He joined the PFD full time in 1987, but it was while serving as a reserve firefighter that he made up his mind to some day lead the department.

“I’m always preparing myself for the next level … I knew I wanted to progress through the levels and be good at each job before I moved on,” he said.

Preparing for the deputy chief’s job has included getting additional education and training. Martinez currently attends the Certified Public Manager Program at the Arizona State University.

Martinez made up his mind early on that he would build his career in Prescott.

“I love the community. It’s a great place to raise a family. I love the department, too. It’s the oldest fire department in the state,” he said.

Most of all, Martinez loves his job. “It’s the best job in the world because you help people – you help them on their worst day,” he said, adding, “I love the traditions of the fire service – the camaraderie, the team that you work with.”

In his new job, Martinez said he intends to maintain the camaraderie he’s enjoyed with his co-workers through the years.

“One thing that I’ve always kept in the back of my mind is I never want to forget where I came from and I want to make sure that employment with the fire department remains positive all the time.”

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