Somervell County’s new fire marshal has been a familiar face at the local fire department for about a dozen years — when he wasn’t driving to his job with the Grand Prairie Fire Department, or to his home in Hico.
Brad Smith, 46, was selected by the Somervell County Commissioners Court, then was sworn in on May 13 by County Judge Danny Chambers. The fire marshal position has been vacant since earlier this month when the retirement of Somervell County Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Mark Crawford took effect.
Smith has been a paid firefighter for the Somervell County Fire Department for about 12 years.
He also drives from Hico to work 10 24-hour shifts a month as a firefighter and paramedic with the Grand Prairie Fire Department. He has worked for Grand Prairie for 17 years, and will continue doing that.
“I’m looking forward to being Somervell County’s fire marshal, and helping the public and being in a leadership role,” Smith said. “When in town, I will respond to all calls. I will stay in contact with Assistant Chief (Brian) Jones and Assistant Chief (Steve) Willis. When I come through town, I will stop.”
The county commissioners have yet to make a decision on filling the fire chief position.
This month marks Smith’s 25th year working as a firefighter/paramedic.
Smith said that as fire marshal, his duties will include investigating fires, inspecting businesses, and educating the public on fire prevention. He also said he will be promoting water safety for those who enjoy the Brazos and Paluxy Rivers, as well as Squaw Creek and Wheeler Branch Reservoir in the county.
Smith, whose family was from De Leon, was a 1992 graduate of Tomball High School. After attending Tomball College, Smith graduated as a member of the 83rd class of the Texas A&M Fire School in College Station in 1994. Smith has previously worked as a firefighter in Yoakum, Edna and Stephenville.
Smith said he first became interested in being a firefighter when he was a schoolboy in the Houston area, constantly seeing first responders doing their vital work on the local TV news broadcasts. He said his dad took him to see some firefighters where they worked.
“My dad had some connections with friends (in fire departments), and we visited several fire stations in downtown Houston,” Smith said. “I talked to firefighters and learned what the job is all about — helping people and (protecting) property.
“It just seemed like it would be a great job. Someone said that every day (in fire fighting) is something new. You never know what’s going on when you get there (at the scene).”
Smith said that in August he plans to enroll in police school to become a certified peace officer.
Smith’s wife, Kristi, was born and raised in Hico. They have one child — 25-year-old Mollie Collums, who is married and also lives in Hico — and one grandchild, 3-year-old Colt. Kristi is a respiratory therapist in Stephenville.