North Myrtle Beach Officials announced Monday that they selected a new fire chief for the city — a veteran fire official from Raleigh in North Carolina.
The new chief, Garry G. Spain has spent 27 years in firefighting, nearly all in the Raleigh Fire Department, where he is Assistant Chief, said Jay Fernandez, public safety director for North Myrtle Beach.
Spain’s hiring comes after Chief Tom Barstow retired on Feb. 20 after 18 years as fire chief with North Myrtle Beach. (Click for related story)
“(Spain) brings a wealth of knowledge and experience,” Fernandez said in a press release. “I am very excited about Chief Spain becoming part of our team, as I truly believe he is the right person for the job,” Fernandez added.
No firm start date is set yet for Spain, but Fernandez said it will likely be sometime in April.
“Chief Spain and his wife are currently making arrangements to move to North Myrtle Beach,” Fernandez said. “Once he does come on board, I will schedule a meet and greet meeting so everyone can hear from and speak to our new Fire Chief.”
Spain possess FF1 and FFII NC certifications, NC Fire FF 1 and FFII Instructor qualifications and NC Fire Instructor Level II certification. He attended the National Fire Academy Command and Control of Fire Department Operations at Multi-Alarm Incidents, an Executive Leadership Program, and a Chief 101 Program, according to Fernandez.
Spain started his fire career as a volunteer for the Wendell Fire Department in 1988. But, Spain also joined the Raleigh Fire Department in 1988, also.
Four years later, Spain was promoted to Fire Lieutenant. In 1996, Spain was promoted to Fire Captain. In 2004, Spain was promoted to Battalion Chief in charge of overseeing five fire stations, seven Fire Captains, and forty-five (45) fire personnel. Six years later in 2010, Spain was promoted to Division Chief in charge of overseeing twenty-seven (27) fire stations and one hundred and seventy (170) fire personnel, Fernandez said.
In 2012, Spain was promoted to Assistant Fire Chief in charge of overseeing strategic planning for the Raleigh Fire Department that included new station design & construction, remodeling of existing stations and future apparatus acquisition, according to the press release from North Myrtle Beach.
Additionally, Spain oversaw all department purchasing, fleet maintenance, and all personal proactive equipment (PPE) for the department.
“As you can see, (Spain) has outstanding job experience and knowledge. And more importantly, his personality and demeanor are a perfect fit for our community,” Fernandez said.