No learning curve for Bellaire’s new fire chief: Deacon Tittel takes command next month

Bellaire’s next fire chief is a familiar figure — 18-year department veteran, Commander Deacon Tittel. The announcement came Friday (June 8) that he will assume leadership of the 22-member force, part-time workers and volunteers on July 7, following the retirement of Chief Darryl Anderson.

Deacon Tittel

Tittel’s unanimous selection after a nationwide search and a review committee that included fire department personnel speaks to the respect he commands, and his resume speaks to his qualifications. In making the announcement, City Manager Paul Hofmann pointed out that “Deacon has taken advantage of every opportunity to prepare to be fire chief.”

He came to Bellaire in June 2000 as a firefighter-paramedic, and two years later was honored as Firefighter of the Year. Tittel rose through the ranks to become a lieutenant and shift commander, and served Bellaire during Tropical Storm Allison, and Hurricanes Rita, Ike and Harvey.

He also served for 20 years with the Highlands Volunteer Fire Department — a second generation volunteer, following in the footsteps of both his parents by joining at the age of 15. He retired from the HVFD in 2013 with the rank of assistant chief.

Tittel earned an associate of applied science in fire protection technology from San Jacinto College, and earned a bachelor of applied arts and scene in emergency management administration from West Texas A&M, graduating cum laude.

He is certified as a fire executive by the Texas Fire Chief Academy and a Fire Service Chief Executive Officer in the Texas A&M University System-Engineering Extension Service.

Tittel holds additional certifications including master firefighter, fire inspector, fire investigator, fire instructor III, driver operator-pumper, and incident safety officer.

”Our competitive selection process was another opportunity and challenge,” said Hofmann, “and I’m not surprised Deacon came out on top.

“The Bellaire Fire Department has been blessed with strong leadership, and Deacon continues that legacy.”

Chief Anderson’s praise for his successor

In a statement for InstantNews/Essentials, Chief Darryl Anderson couldn’t have been more positive about the announcement of Deacon Tittel to succeed him next month.

“On June 6th of 2000, a young man joined Bellaire Fire Department.  He came from the volunteer side and the fire service was in his blood; in fact his father was the Deputy Chief for Highlands Volunteer Fire Department and this young man had been responding to fires with his Dad since he was 15, as a junior firefighter.
“Jump forward 18 years and Deacon Tittel has been appointed to the position of Fire Chief for the City of Bellaire.  During his tenure with Bellaire, Deacon has used his experience and personal drive to achieve many milestones, academically and positionally.
“Those Bellaire Fire Department employees who were here when Deacon joined all soon learned of his special character.  He didn’t talk the talk, he just walked the walk; choosing action over words, choosing substance over bravado.
“Deacon is a natural leader and does so with a humble spirit.  His faith is his center and his family is his greatest accomplishment.  Deacon moves with a purpose and elevates those around him with his consistency and determination.
“As a product of his generation, he is technologically savvy and accepts challenges with a smile and ‘yes, Sir’ in true Texas fashion.  As Fire Chief for 13 of Deacon’s 18 years, I leaned heavily upon his drive, work ethic and fire service network to accomplish many tasks.
“Deacon’s can-do attitude is so pervasive that I eventually had to tell him to let me know when it was time for NO, a word Deacon knows little of.
“Bellaire Fire Department is on the cusp of wonderful change, and while the hire is from within, Deacon vision of the fire service will bring ideas from without.  I look forward to the future success that will come under Deacon’s tutelage.”