Aberdeen Fire Chief Dave Carlberg officially transferred command of the Aberdeen Fire Department to Battalion Chief Tom Hubbard Wednesday night by presenting Hubbard with his new chief’s badge and a shiny, white helmet.
Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson officially recommended Hubbard for the job and the City Council unanimously confirmed that choice as a packed council meeting. Dozens of firefighters and their families in attendance gave the two a standing ovation.
Carlberg said his goodbyes after nearly 35 years as a firefighter for Aberdeen— the last 13 as chief.
Earlier in the afternoon, friends, family and former colleagues gathered to pay respect to Carlberg, who says he’s moving to Spokane to be closer to family.
Hubbard has been with the Aberdeen Fire Department since 1995, when he was hired as a firefighter/paramedic. Prior to that, he worked for three years as a firefighter/paramedic with the City of Hoquiam and as a volunteer firefighter with Wishkah’s Fire District 10 from 1988 to 1995. He’s currently enrolled in the executive fire officer program through the National Fire Academy. Hubbard said he expects to graduate from the academy next year.
“After I read Tom Hubbard’s resume, I’d be in deep trouble if I didn’t put him in this position,” Mayor Simpson said. “He’s got credentials that are the greatest and I appreciate everything you’ve done, Tom.”
Simpson noted that Hubbard won’t take over until Oct. 1. In fact, he still has two shifts on duty as battalion chief today and on Sunday. The change in hours will be a switch for Hubbard, who is used to long hours a few days a week. Now, he’ll be in the office five days a week — and sometimes even longer if a crisis breaks out.
Hubbard said he chose not to give any sort of speech.
“To me, this is Dave’s day,” Hubbard said. “He’s been a great boss and we’re all going to miss him around here.”
“I want to say thanks to the many members of Aberdeen Fire, which I’ve had the privilege and honor to serve with over the years,” Carlberg said. “As their chief, I’m very proud of the men and women in our department and their contribution to the quality of life that our citizens enjoy today. The level of commitment they have to this community is by far exceptional. …
“The positions I have held here in the department as a City of Aberdeen firefighter is truly the greatest honor that I’ve ever had in my life and I will never forget the citizens and you, the elected officials, who gave me that chance,” Carlberg said. “Thank you very much.”
City Councilwoman Margo Shortt gave Carlberg, Hubbard and the entire Aberdeen Fire Department heartfelt thanks. Just two weeks ago, her neighbor’s house on Broadway in Aberdeen caught on fire. But firefighters were able to contain the fire to that one house, even though hers was located just a few feet away. The heat was so great, she said some of her vinyl siding melted.
“Seeing flames coming from behind the house is very, very scary,” Shortt said. “They did a great job of minimizing damage to our house and neighboring areas. But, once again, our fire department, Chief Carlberg, Chief Hubbard, wonderful job and I thank you so much.”