Davis Names Joe Tenney New Fire Chief

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Joe Tenney/ courtesy photo

It was only seven months ago that Daryl Arbuthnott, fire chief for just 17 months, stunned the city of Davis by announcing a move to Vallejo.  That created the need for a new fire chief for a department that had only recently moved back under the control of its own independent chief after years of joint management with the university.

This time, the city would not go outside of its ranks, and instead selected as its new chief veteran firefighter Joe Tenney, who rose through the ranks of the department over the years.

According to the city’s press release, Joe Tenney arrives at this position after over 30 years’ experience as a firefighter and almost 20 years as a Davis firefighter.

A member of the Davis Fire Department since 1999, Chief Tenney advanced through the ranks of Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Captain and Division Chief. In 2004, he served for several years as a member on the board of the Davis Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 3494.  In 2003 and 2004, Tenney was selected as Firefighter of the Year.

“I am especially proud to name Joe Tenney as our new Fire Chief,” said Mike Webb, City Manager. “He has served the Davis community for almost 20 years with distinction and that experience is invaluable as we see the need for fire services increasing and changing.”

“It is my goal to bring stability and progress to the fire department,” said Mr. Tenney. “Technology and communications are key ingredients to our future success. The fire landscape has changed. The years ahead will be more challenging with increased fire activity, and it is important that we collaborate with fire agencies and local law enforcement to be prepared.”

Joe Tenney noted, “The Davis Fire Department has high quality personnel that has consistently maintained professionalism, integrity and a high customer service level.”

He added, “Davis has a great sense of community. People thank us every day for being there for them, and there is a great feeling and reward to receive a genuine appreciation for what we do from the city’s residents.”

Born and raised in Redding, Mr. Tenney began his experience in the fire service in 1983 at Shasta High School through the ROP (Regional Occupational Program) fire training program.  He attended Shasta College and worked for the Shasta College Fire Department while working toward his Associate of Arts degree in Fire Technology.

He also holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Fire and Emergency Management from Purdue Global University. His education also includes California State certification in many areas of the fire service. These include Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Specialist, HazMat Incident Commander and HazMat Instructor from the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI), Trench Rescue, and Rescue Systems 1, Strike Team and Task Force Leader, California Fire Officer and California Chief Officer.

Joe Tenney was hired by the UC Davis Fire Department in 1989 where he became state certified as a Hazardous Materials Technician, including Confined Space Entry, and he advanced through the ranks of Firefighter, Fire Specialist and Truck Officer. He helped organize and was an original member of the UC Davis Fire Department HazMat Team.

While serving the UC Davis Fire Department, Mr. Tenney was honored as Firefighter of the Year in 1995 and received the Davis Outstanding Service Recognition Award in 1996. He organized a charity Fire Department basketball tournament for 8 years that included 16 fire department teams from northern California to raise funds for the UC Davis Burn Center and the Pacific Burn Institute.

According to the city’s release,  Joe Tenney is married with four children and recently became a grandfather.  He will assume the chief position starting on July 15.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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