Sterling Jones has been named interim fire chief. He joined the South Fulton Fire Rescue Department on Feb. 3 when he accepted a deputy fire chief position.
Before coming to South Fulton, he was fire chief in Riverdale, Ga. His 26-year career also includes serving in the deputy chief role with the Augusta Fire Department for nearly five years, and 18 years with the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department where he rose to the rank of battalion chief.
Jones earned a master’s degree in public administration from Columbus State University and a bachelor’s degree in fire and safety engineering technology from the University of Cincinnati. He also has two associate’s degrees from the Community College of the Air Force and City College of Chicago in fire and safety engineering. Jones is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer program and is certified as a chief fire officer.
Jones is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Institution of Fire Engineers, Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs, Georgia Fire Chiefs Association, Metro Atlanta Fire Chiefs Association, National Society of Executive Fire Officers, Georgia Association of EMTs and the University of Cincinnati Alumni Association.
The news of Jones’ rise in the ranks follows the announcement of Freddie Broome’s departure after 10 months as fire chief. The Georgia Municipal Association has tapped Broome as the new statewide fire member services director.
South Fulton Fire Rescue also recently celebrated the retirement of Jack Butler. The former deputy chief briefly served as interim fire chief after the retirement of Larry Few last year.
Jones takes over as South Fulton Fire Rescue braces for the unknown on the front lines of the city’s fight against COVID-19. Earlier this month, three members of the department responded to the 911 call at Bear Creek Middle where a teacher later tested positive, prompting the closure of Fulton County Schools.
The firefighters self-quarantined after the episode and Fire Station No. 15 was temporarily closed and professionally cleaned. One of the firefighters affected was Thanh Nguyen. His family made the decision to isolate as a unit. His wife told FYN that she was impressed by the department’s handling of the crisis.
The fire department is taking steps to protect firefighters as they interact with the public, but personal protective equipment is in high demand and low supply. Generous benefactors are helping to meet the need with donations of masks. Interim Chief Jones, along with City Manager Odie Donald II and Police Chief Keith Meadows, will accept the latest donation this afternoon at City Hall.
Photo Credit: South Fulton Fire Rescue
Editor’s Note: Story updated at 7 p.m. on April 3.