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Retiring Wash. fire chief recognized for 31 years of service

Tacoma Fire Chief Tory Green led the department through the coronavirus pandemic and created a behavioral health crisis program

By Simone Carter
The News Tribune

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma Fire Chief Tory Green is turning in his keys to the fire truck.

Green recently announced that effective June 30, he is retiring from the Tacoma Fire Department after 31 years — five of which he spent at the helm.

The department noted in a Facebook post that Green led Tacoma firefighters during the challenges of the coronavirus-pandemic response. He also “implemented the basic life support transport program, implemented an alternative response program for behavioral health crisis (HOPE Program),” and focused on firefighter safety and mental health.

An interim replacement, Assistant Chief Sionna Stallings-Alailima, will take over until the appointment of a permanent head.

On Wednesday morning, the city of Tacoma honored Green and four other soon-retiring department directors on its government Facebook page.

“Thank you for your service Deputy City Manager Kurtis Kingsolver, TERS Director Tim Allen, Tacoma Fire Department Chief Tory Green, Community and Economic Development Director Jeff Robinson, and Tacoma Environmental Services Director Mike Slevin,” the city wrote in the post. “We appreciate your dedication and commitment to Tacoma over the years and wish you the very best in retirement!”

Many well-wishers commented on the Fire Department’s post announcing Green’s departure.

“Thank you for your service!!!” replied Pierce County Council member Robyn Denson.

The Eastside Neighborhoods Advisory Council of Tacoma shared the department’s post, along with the caption: “Thank you for your service, Chief Green. It was always great working with you. Happy retirement [fire-extinguisher emoji].”

Before ascending to department head in 2019, Green served as deputy chief of administration for seven years, The News Tribune reported at the time. His priorities included department diversification and improvements to outdated fire stations. Green previously worked as a training and medical services officer and as assistant chief of emergency medical services.

Not being able to let go puts the new chief in an awkward position

The News Tribune in 2016 also covered then-Deputy Chief Green’s recommendation to fire two recruits accused of cheating on a test — and, in a 2017 investigation, pressed him on how a firefighter with a history of drug use had gotten hired.

Green has also worked to raise awareness about firefighter health amid a trend of duty-related cancer deaths.

A Tacoma native, Green worked under four chiefs, including predecessor Jim Duggan, according to the city. He helped usher in the EMS levy-lid lift, passed by voters last year and has advocated for the fire levy-lid lift that will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.

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