1886 - 1891
Peter Jones, a former alderman and six-term mayor, became the city's first chief to lead a professional fire department. Previously, firefighting efforts in the city were performed by volunteers. Paid $125 a month, Jones led a department with 20 officers and men housed in three stations, including Fire Station 3, in which all assigned personnel were African Americans. Jones died of pneumonia, which the newspaper at the time said he "contracted in the direct line of duty."
1891 - 1892
John H. Stephens resigned a year and seven months into his job as fire chief to take a better paying job as a contracting agent with the Florida Central and Peninsular railroad. He had previously worked for the Savannah, Florida and Western railway. As fire chief, he was credited with taking the department to a higher state of equipment and discipline.
1892 - 1926
Thomas W. Haney left the Atlanta Fire Department, where he was a captain, to become the department's third chief. Haney lead an effort to acquire a better alarm system for the town as well as an improved water works system. He said in 1895 that if a fire started in Jacksonville and got a good headway, 'ten chances to one, it would sweep everything in its path.' Haney was still chief when the Great Fire of 1901 burned the city to the ground. He wasn't blamed and remained chief for another quarter of a century. At one point he was the highest paid official in the city, earning $2,400 a year, twice that of the mayor and police chief. In 1913, he was elected president of the International Association of Fire Engineers.
1926 - 1933
Hubert R. MacMillan fought the Great Fire of 1901 as a foreman assigned to Station 4. Firefighters saved the station, but MacMillan lost his house on Monroe Street to the flames. During his tenure as fire chief he oversaw the opening of five new fire stations as the department expanded its service into South Jacksonville.
1933 - 1943
William Q. Dowling spent 42 years on the fire department, his last 10 as chief. He lived in a house adjoining Central Station. Under his leadership, the department became a model for efficient management, equipment and personnel, and the city's insurance rates were extremely low. He was a member of the International Fire Chiefs Association and one-time president of the Southeastern Fire Chiefs Association.
1943 - 1952
George E. Hare spent 43 years in the fire department until retiring at the then-mandatory age of 65. He served as deputy chief for 10 years before being appointed chief. He joined the department in 1909, at a salary of $60 a month, when all the equipment was horse drawn and steam pumpers were used to create the pressure needed to send streams of water onto fires.
1952 - 1953
Joseph B. Chancey also joined the fire department during the horse-drawn era in 1907. He served eight years as deputy chief and a short tenure as fire chief before reaching mandatory retirement. He served as president of the Florida State Firemen's Association in 1927-28 and in an advisory role helped organize the fire fighting system in Orlando in 1936. He also helped organize the Florida State Fire College.
1953 - 1963
Frank C. Kelly spent 43 years in the fire department, including 10 as chief, before mandatory retirement at age 65. Known for maintaining strict discipline, Kelly avidly promoted the department and is credited with upgrading its equipment.
1963 - 1966
George R. Cromartie joined the fire department in 1927. He served as an assistant chief for 11 years and deputy chief for two years before his appointment to fire chief.
1966 - 1968
Wingate A. Jackson Jr. spent 40 years in the Jacksonville fire department. During his 2 1/2-year tenure as chief, he oversaw the formation of the city's emergency rescue service, acquisition of more modern fire fighting equipment and advance planning for the department under the new consolidated government.
1968 - 1971
John J. Hubbard joined the department in 1927 on the same day as former chief George R. Cromartie. Hubbard led the department's expansion of services following consolidation.
1971 - 1974
W.E. Smith battled firefighters over restrictions on hair length and dealt with racial tensions during his tenure as chief. A special mayor's citizens committee recommended long- and short-range goals be set for hiring more black firemen. Nine were hired under a federal court order in 1972.
1974 - 1981
Russell Yarbrough joined the department in 1942 and worked his way up the ranks to assistant chief in 1971 before being appointed chief.
Marshall Dean Gunn worked his way up through the ranks of the fire division, serving for a time as planning officer and coordinator of the city's volunteer fire services. He spent 36 years in the department before retiring.
1984 - 1988
Miles R. Bowers joined the fire department in 1946 after returning from the service in World War II. In his first term as chief, he took charge following a critical grand jury report and guided the department through some difficult years. He was named one of the top five chiefs in the United States by Fire Chief Executive Magazine.
1988 - 1989
Gary F. Keys joined the department in 1960, was an original member of the first rescue units in Jacksonville in 1968 and served as chief of operations and chief of fire services during his 29-year career. A former president of the firefighters union, he left the department after less than seven months as fire chief to become the business agent for the union.
1989 - 1991
Daniel Ingle was a 21-year veteran of the fire department when he was named fire chief. Previously, he served as chief of operations. Ingle's brief tenure coincided with a change in mayors.
1991 - 1995
Charles D. Clark spent 34 years as a city fireman. He was the city's first fire chief to also serve as director of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. Previously, the post was divided, and most directors had been physicians. Clark left the department to become director of the State Fire Marshal's Office.
1995 - 1995
Randall W. Napoli, who was chief of the Fire Training Division, served as interim-chief while newly elected Mayor John Delaney searched for a new fire chief. He left the department to head the state fire college and eventually become director of the State Fire Marshal's Office. In that role, he won 'The Firefighters' Hero Award' for his efforts to pass a law strengthening safety rules for firefighters.
1995 - 2003
Rayfield Alfred became the city's first African-American fire chief when Mayor John Delaney recruited him from Washington, D.C., following a national search for a new chief from outside the department. A 30-year veteran firefighter in Washington, including five years as chief, Alfred oversaw plans in Jacksonville to build new fire stations and replace aging equipment.
2003 - 2003
Miles R. Bowers served more time on the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department than anyone before retiring after 57 years of service. His second term as head of the department was a brief one as interim chief until Mayor John Peyton could fill a campaign promise to replace Ray Alfred.
2003 - 2006
Richard A. Barrett had been with the Fire and Rescue Department since 1973 before assuming the department's top position. Following his appointment, he emphasized training and upgrading the department's aging equipment and facilities. Prior to his ascension to fire chief, he served as a battalion chief for more than eight years and as chief of the Fire Prevention Division for three.
2006 - 2010
Daniel A. Kleman came to Jacksonville in 2004 to serve as Mayor John Peyton's Chief Administrative Officer. In October 2006, he moved from City Hall to JFRD to lead the department while Fire Chief Richard Barrett was on extended medical leave. Barrett retired from JFRD in 2006, and Kleman was confirmed as Director in June 2007. Kleman returned to City Hall in December 2010 to lead Peyton's mayoral transition project.
2010 - 2011
Dr. Charles E. Moreland, a Jacksonville native, joined the department in 1990. In 2003, Mayor John Peyton appointed Moreland as Chief of the Rescue Division, a post he held until being selected as Director/Fire Chief in December 2010, when Director Dan Kleman returned to City Hall.
2011 - 2015
Martin Senterfitt was appointed Director/Fire Chief by Mayor Alvin Brown in December 2011. Senterfitt entered the department's top spot after overseeing the Emergency Preparedness Division since June 2008. He joined JFRD in 1988.
2015 - Present
Kurtis R. Wilson was appointed Director/Fire Chief by Mayor Lenny Curry in August 2015. His previous administrative experience includes overseeing the department's Fire Operations Division as well as the Fire Prevention and Administrative Services divisions. Wilson joined JFRD in 1994. His appointment is subject to City Council approval.