A roomful of people gathered for the swearing in of new Sparks Fire Chief Christopher Maples at the regularly held City Council meeting on Monday afternoon.
As the 12th chief of the Sparks Fire Department, Maples holds a bachelor’s degree from UNR with an emphasis in natural resource management as well as an AA degree in fire science from TMCC. After serving in the US Navy and Nevada Air National Guard, Maples started a real estate business and volunteered with the Verdi Fire Department in 1990.
“I would be sitting in my office waiting for my radio to go off and realized that [being a firefighter] was what I truly wanted to do,” says Maples.
He soon took a regional firefighting test and the Sparks Fire Department hired him on in November 1995.
Throughout his tenure, Maples served as Operator, Captain, Battalion Chief and Division Chief. Succeeding Chief Tom Garrison who is retiring, Sparks Mayor Pro Tempore Ron Smith swore Maples in followed by a badge pinning ceremony.
Maples then thanked the city council for the opportunity to lead the men and women of the Sparks Fire Department, saying that it is an honor and a privilege to serve the community. He thanked Roxanne, his wife of 35 years and his kids for supporting him in this endeavor.
He added that he looks forward to the challenges that lay ahead as well as emphasized how special it is that Sparks promotes from within. In the 111-year history of the fire department, he is only the 12th fire chief to serve Sparks. Starting his career with the department when he was 37 years old, Maples acknowledges that he moved up the ranks rather quickly.
“It means a great deal to be inducted; when I got hired [with the department] I never thought I’d become fire chief,” says Maples.
“I work with an outstanding group; a fire chief can’t be effective without a great group of people,” he adds. “I look forward to continue serving the City of Sparks. The fact that eight previous fire chiefs came here today really shows what a tight-knit community we are,” says Maples.
A few of the fire chiefs there to show support for Maples (a combined 65 years of experience with the Sparks Fire Department) included Bill Farr, Don Young, Ron Irwin, Lee Leighton, Tom Clewell, Andy Flock, and Tom Garrison.
World War II veteran, former State Senator and 25-year fire chief Bill Farr served the longest tenure of the department’s history. City councilwoman Charlene Bybee commented that she remembers Bill Farr serving as fire chief when she was a little girl and told Maples, “Congratulations, you fall in some great footsteps.”