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Nashville Fire Department Chief Rick White Announces Retirement after nearly 40 Years of Service

November 3, 2017

Mayor Barry Appoints Deputy Director William Swann as Interim Director Chief

Nashville Fire Department Chief Rick White has announced his intention to retire at the age of 62 following a nearly 40-year career in public service. Appointed Interim Chief by Mayor Karl Dean in 2013, White was named Director Chief by Mayor Megan Barry in September of 2016.

“When I came on this job, all I wanted to be was a good firefighter. It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve with Nashville’s bravest over the last 40 years,” said Chief White. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity given to me by Mayors Dean and Barry to serve as Chief these past few years, and I want to thank all of the members of the Nashville Fire Department who worked with me during my career to make ours one of the best departments in the nation.”

White first joined the Nashville Fire Department as a firefighter in February of 1978. After showing exemplary service and commitment throughout the years, he was promoted to assistant chief in 2003 before being named Interim Chief in 2013. A native Nashvillian, White also served as a firefighter, fire engineer, fire instructor, captain of the Hazardous Materials Team, district chief of special operations and assistant chief of the Urban Search and Rescue Team.

“Chief White has been a passionate advocate for and leader of the men and women of the Nashville Fire Department, who risk their lives to keep us safe,” said Mayor Barry. “Nashville has been fortunate to have Chief White and all of the women and men of our Nashville Fire Department who have answered the call to ensure the health and safety of our citizens.”

In finding someone to fill Chief White’s role, Mayor Barry has appointed Commander William Swann to serve as Interim Director Chief. Swann is currently the Deputy Director and Chief of Staff to White and has led the Office of Emergency Management within the department.

“Commander Swann has been a tremendous leader in the Nashville Fire Department, working to keep Nashville safe during emergencies and earning the respect of our first responders,” said Mayor Barry. “I know he will continue to serve with honor and distinction in this role.”

Swann joined the Nashville Fire Department in 1995. In his 22 years of service he has proven to be a detail-oriented, hard-working and effective leader. Through hard work he has risen through the ranks of the NFD from a firefighter to the director of the Office of Emergency Management and Deputy Fire Director.  For the past three years Deputy Director Swann has worked directly with Chief White to learn the infrastructure of the department. That experience, coupled with his knowledge of the infrastructure of the city through the Office of Emergency Management, make him the right person for this appointment. 

“Director Ricky White has mentored me for the past three years to prepare me for this moment,” Interim-Director Swann said. “I cannot express what an honor it is to lead this department, and I will remain committed to keeping NFD on the forefront of fire service in the country.”

Interim Chief Swann’s appointment will take effect immediately as Chief White will be taking accumulated leave prior to his retirement later this month. 

Chief Rick White Chief William Swann