St. Petersburg Fire Chief James Large to Retire After a Half-Century of Public Service
St. Petersburg, FL (January 18, 2024) - After 18 years as Fire Chief and a 50-year career with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue, Chief James Large will retire on March 1, 2024. A national search for the next Fire Chief will begin in earnest in February. "I'm humbled and honored to have dedicated my entire 50-year career to serving the City of St. Petersburg - it has been a long journey filled with so many memorable moments and personal experiences," said Chief Large. "Serving the citizens of St. Petersburg, providing high-quality emergency response, and working alongside the finest firefighters and support staff, who are dedicated to protecting our community, has been and will continue to be one of the greatest honors of my lifetime." During his 50 years of service, his vast list of accomplishments includes obtaining and maintaining accreditation and ISO Class 1 designation for the department, implementing a fire cadet program to help create and diversify the next generation of firefighters, instituting three COVID-19 Strike Team Units, and establishing a comprehensive behavioral health program focused on mental health and well-being to help reduce the risk of post-traumatic stress and suicide within the fire service. Chief Large was named the 2022 Florida Fire Chief of the Year by the Florida Fire Chiefs' Association. "During his 50-year tenure, Chief Large has led a dedicated team of firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, and support personnel who deliver exceptional service and high-quality care to the St. Petersburg community," said Mayor Kenneth T. Welch. "He stated last year that he planned to retire in 2024 at this major milestone in his career and I look forward to guiding SPFR's transition into this next phase of leadership. We are grateful to Chief Large for his lifetime of service and commitment to public safety. We wish him and his family all the best in his future endeavors." Effective March 2, 2024, Deputy Chief Robert Bassett will serve as Interim Fire Chief. "Every member of my administration fully supports Deputy Chief Bassett during this transitional period," said Mayor Welch. "I am confident in his ability to lead as we move forward in this next chapter for St. Petersburg Fire Rescue."
About St. Petersburg Fire Rescue
St. Petersburg Fire Rescue (SPFR) is a metropolitan sized, all-hazards emergency services provider for the City of St. Petersburg, Florida, and surrounding communities. As an all-hazards agency, SPFR provides fire suppression and prevention services, hazardous materials mitigation, technical rescue, marine surface, and dive rescue, tactical paramedic services, and Advanced Life Support (ALS) Emergency Medical Services (EMS). SPFR deploys these services through 14 fire companies operating from 13 fixed facilities. SPFR employs 398 personnel, of which 354 are sworn, uniformed emergency responders. SPFR protects approximately 300,000 citizens over an area of 70 square miles. fire.stpete.org