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Riley named fire chief of Pearland

By KBell
March 30, 2011 at 9 p.m.
Updated March 29, 2011 at 10:30 p.m.


Former Victoria Fire Chief Vance Riley will begin his new job as fire chief in Pearland on Monday.

"I've heard good things about their fire department, and the city is experiencing exponential growth," Riley said about his decision to move to the city just south of Houston. "There's plenty of challenges and opportunity there."

Riley retired Jan. 31 after 16 years with the city of Victoria. In his retirement speech, Riley hinted that after just one month away from the job, he was, "going to have to go back to work or be crazy."

That's exactly what happened, he said.

"The fire service gets into your blood. It's hard to let it go."

Pearland's assistant city manager, Jon Branson, said Riley's appointment was confirmed by the city council, in part because of his experience working with volunteer firefighters and in a combined fire and EMS department.

In Pearland, Riley will be head of 23 full-time personnel, 60 volunteers and numerous part-time personnel, Branson said. The fire and EMS departments are separate but work closely together.

"From the number of personnel he was responsible for (in Victoria), we know he has the experience. He's also very highly thought of throughout the state," Branson said.

Last year, Riley was re-appointed to a six-year term as chairman of the Governor's Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Advisory Council, where he'd served the previous four years.

"We feel like he's going to be a very good fit for the city of Pearland and an asset for city of Pearland," Branson said.

Riley said he was excited to step into the new job, especially because it's near Friendswood, where he grew up and still has family.

"And of course, it's always great to meet more firefighters and grow our firefighting family," Riley said.

Riley said his wife, Ann Fagan Riley, will continue to run her Victoria business, Fagan Answering Service. She plans to commute.

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