By George Slaughter
Katy Fire Chief Russell Wilson resigned Friday, Mayor Bill Hastings said in a news release.
No reason was given for Wilson’s resignation. Wilson’s last day on the job will be October 23. Efforts to reach Wilson for comment Friday were unsuccessful.
Hastings said Assistant Fire Chief Kenneth Parker will serve as interim chief.
Wilson came to Katy in 2016, recruited by then-Mayor Fabol Hughes and other city officials, from Irving, where he had spent the previous nine years as assistant fire chief.
In Katy, Wilson worked with three mayoral administrations—Hughes, Chuck Brawner, and Hastings—and other city officials to expand and modernize the fire department as Katy continued to grow. He was active in developing a second fire station at Bell Patna Drive and Katy Mills Circle, near Katy Mills Mall. The station is a three-bay, approximately 14,000 square-foot structure. Wilson supervised the grant application that helped the city pay for the hiring and training of the firefighters who staff it. He also supervised the upgrading and acquisition of new equipment.
The Texas Association of Fire Chiefs Executive Conference in 2018 named Wilson Fire Chief of the Year. The association, headquartered in Austin, enables information sharing and legislative involvement while working to promote ethical and professional standards for firefighters.
Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris said the department has a proud history and thanked Wilson for serving as chief. Other council members also thanked Wilson for his service and praised his accomplishments.
“I have a lot of respect for Chief Wilson, and his resignation is a huge loss for the city,” Ward A Council Member Janet Corte said. “He was hired by Mayor Fabol Hughes to create a professional department with an ISO Class I rating, which he achieved within two years. He is well-respected by his department, city staff, and his peers throughout the state. I wish him nothing but the best going forward.”
Said Ward A Council Member Frank Carroll: “We were extremely fortunate to have had a top-notch fire chief who, along with Mayor Brawner, presided over Katy’s ascendance to the top 1% of all fire departments,” Ward A Council Member Frank Carroll said. “We will be hard-pressed to fill his boots and I wish him the very best.”
Ward B Council Member Jenifer Jordan Stockdick said she was also grateful for Wilson’s service and wished him well.
“As a former member of the Katy Fire Department, I know how important the fire department is to our community,” Stockdick said.
Ward B Council Member Durran Dowdle also wished Wilson well.
“Chief Wilson has built an outstanding fire department for Katy,” Dowdle said.