Treasure Island selects Dunedin deputy as new fire chief

William “Trip” Barrs, deputy fire chief for Dunedin, has been appointed fire chief for the city of Treasure Island.

TREASURE ISLAND – William “Trip” Barrs, deputy fire chief for Dunedin, has been appointed fire chief for the city of Treasure Island.

“The city is pleased to have someone with Chief Barrs’ leadership experience and professional background take the helm at Treasure Island Fire Rescue,” said City Manager Garry Brumback.

Barrs served as deputy fire chief for Dunedin the past six years, and he will retire from the department Oct. 1, after serving 26 years with the department. During his 26-year career, he has served as deputy fire chief, shift commander, lieutenant, and firefighter/paramedic.

Barrs holds a bachelor’s degree in public leadership from Eckerd College, and he is currently a candidate for a master’s degree in public leadership/emergency management.

He holds a number of professional certifications, including executive fire officer, chief fire officer, paramedic, live fire training instructor, instructor III, fire inspector and U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain.

In addition to his duties with the Dunedin Fire Rescue, he has served as a strike team leader with the state of Florida Emergency Management Agency, Disaster Response Task Force since 2014. In that latter capacity, he was deployed in response to both Hurricane Matthew and the Collier County wildfires.

“Chief Barrs was a standout candidate whose experience coupled with his leadership style made the choice easy. He is exactly the right person to take Treasure Island Fire/Rescue to the next level,” Brumback said.

In a phone interview, Dunedin Fire Chief Jeff Parks reiterated what he said at the Dunedin City Commission meeting Sept. 18, noting that the department is celebrating Barrs’ retirement with mixed emotions.

“I am sad that he is leaving because he brings many great strengths to this department and has been a part of it for many years,” Parks said. “I am also excited for him to be venturing out on a new path and know that he will be successful as he knows Pinellas County operations very well and should make a great leader for the firefighters in Treasure Island.”

Barrs succeeds Treasure Island Police Chief Armand Boudreau, who has temporarily served as public safety director for the past year. The city had 24 applicants for the chief position.

William “Trip” Barrs