By George Slaughter
Katy Fire Chief Russell Wilson has accepted the fire chief position in the City of Mesquite. He begins his new job November 1.
Wilson said Tuesday that the move was a “homecoming” for him. Wilson began his career in 2007 with the Irving Fire Department. Irving is approximately 25 miles west of Mesquite, which is east of Dallas and has a population of approximately 143,000. Both communities are part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Wilson said he was familiar with the fire department. Earlier in his career, he said, he attended paramedic school there while commuting to work in Irving. With his return, things have come full circle.
Wilson described the Mesquite Fire Department as a progressive one, particularly on issues as cancer and PTSD awareness and susceptibility in firefighters, and he felt it would be a better fit for him. He also said he felt lucky that the outgoing chief is leaving a good foundation on which he can build.
“They’re very on top of things,” Wilson said.
The move also has a personal benefit for the Wilsons. Wilson’s wife, Lisa, is from Mesquite, and her mother still lives there.
“It works out really, really great for my family,” Wilson said.
Wilson came in 2016 to Katy from Irving, where he had been assistant fire chief. He submitted his resignation Friday to Mayor Bill Hastings. Wilson’s last day in Katy is October 23.
Wilson praised Assistant Fire Chief Kenneth Parker, who will be Katy’s interim fire chief.
“I think Chief Parker will do a great job,” Wilson said. “I think he is well-respected by the troops, and I think he’s eager to continue learning in the role he will be in. I think he will do a fine job.”