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Petersburg appoints first woman as fire-rescue chief

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Posted at 11:41 AM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 11:41:01-05

PETERSBURG, Va. — Richmond Fire Department Battalion Chief Tina Watkins has been appointed as the new chief of the Petersburg-Fire Rescue Department — becoming the first woman and first African American woman to do so.

According to the City of Petersburg, Watkins was chosen out of 13 candidates.

She will be leaving the Richmond Fire Department with 33 years of service under her belt. She was the second woman and second African American woman to work her way up the ranks in the department.

Watkins served as the Richmond Fire Department's battalion chief for 11 years, supervising five stations and six fire companies.

She earned a master's degree in leadership with an emphasis in emergency management and executive fire leadership and a bachelor of science degree in public safety and business administration.

Watkins also holds professional certifications through FEMA, the National Fire Academy and the Virginia State Fire Program.

“Not only does Ms. Watkins have extensive experience in fire administration and field operations, she is a seasoned professional in budget management, enforcement of regulations, policies and procedures development needed to effectively lead Petersburg Fire-Rescue with over 75 members and a $4 million dollar budget,” said Deputy City Manager Tangela Innis.

“I am committed to providing unparalleled leadership and customer service to the citizens of Petersburg,” said Watkins in the annoucement. “Developing fire safety community programs and supporting on-going professional development and training for all firefighters and rescue personnel is my goal. I will work to secure new fire equipment needed to better protect the City.”