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Sept. 30, 2022

Angry Smoke: Fire Fights with Chief Joe Tolbert

Angry Smoke: Fire Fights with Chief Joe Tolbert

Angry Smoke

Stories from the fireground as told by Atlanta Deputy Fire Chief (retired) Joseph M. Tolbert. Joe regales us first person accounts of 4 remarkable incidents during his career, incidents that he should NOT have been at.

Chief Joe Tolbert was born and raised in the City of Atlanta. He is a fifth generation Atlanta Firefighter. His Great-Great Grandfather began the family tradition of working in the fire  service with the Atlanta Volunteer  Fire Department in 1870.

Chief Tolbert joined the Atlanta Fire Department in 1972. He has served in every rank and capacity within the Atlanta Fire Department, up to and including acting  Fire Chief. During his career he held the following ranks: Apparatus Operator, Chief’s Aide, Captain, Battalion Chief, Assistant Chief, and Deputy Chief. 

He has been awarded degrees in Fire Science and Business Administration. He is a certified Fire Instructor, Safety Officer, Fire Investigator and Hazardous Materials Technician.

During his career, Chief Tolbert received numerous citations and commendations for heroism and bravery. These awards include the Phoenix Award, given by Mayor Andrew Young, and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, given by the late Congressman John Lewis.

Chief Tolbert retired from the Atlanta Fire-Rescue Department in 2005. He completed his career in the fire service as the Deputy Chief of Operations for the City of East Point., GA. He continues to operate the consulting firm he began in 1984, specializing in forensic fire investigations, fire modeling and incident management review.

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