CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Chief Michael Roberts, a homegrown firefighter and executive who has led Clarksville Fire Rescue since 1999, has announced he will retire from the post July 31.
Over the past 20 years, Chief Roberts has presided over a period of dramatic growth in the department, which now has 12 fire stations and 235 firefighters and support personnel.
“It’s been an absolute honor to serve as chief of this great department and to serve the citizens of this outstanding city,” Roberts said.
Roberts joined the department as a rookie firefighter in 1977 and quickly began rising through the ranks. He was promoted to fire investigator in October 1983; to captain in July 1985; and then to assistant chief in 1987. In 1999, when mentor and Fire Chief Eugene Keel retired after nearly 15 years at the helm, Roberts was promoted to Fire Chief.
“I was an Army brat who got to Clarksville in 1965,” Roberts said. “I had always looked up to firefighters, police officers and soldiers, but I didn’t really know what career I would pursue. Then, in 1977, I needed a job and got hired by the Fire Department. Within two weeks, I knew the fire service was my calling. After I got a taste of it, I never wanted to do anything else.”
In all, Roberts will have spent 42 years serving the citizens of Clarksville as a firefighter and department leader.
“Chief Roberts has been a highly respected and effective leader of our firefighters for nearly four decades,” Mayor Joe Pitts said. “He’s led the department through a lot of growth and progress, and he can be proud that today’s Clarksville Fire Rescue is well-staffed, well-trained and well-equipped.”