Fire Chief Sam Thornton (L) introduced new Assistant Fire Chief Shaun Tyson to Portland last week at a remote broadcast of WQKR's Good Morning, Portland program at Top of the Ridge Restaurant. BONNIE FUSSELL

Shaun Tyson has been named assistant chief of the Portland Fire Department. Tyson left a position with the State of Florida Bureau of Fire, Arson & Explosives Investigations, where he served as a detective investigating to determine the area of origin and cause and conducted necessary follow-up investigations.

Tyson served with the Portland Police Department from 2010-2013 as an officer and arson investigator for the city. He often served as a shift supervisor. With the police department and before, he was a paid on-call volunteer with the city’s fire department from 2008-2013. Prior to those positions, he was a police officer with Metro-Nashville Police Department from 2007-2010. He served nine years in the military, including one tour in combat with the Army National Guard.

He has participated in over 2,300 hours of police and fire related training and is certified as a fire investigator in Tennessee, Florida, and through the Pro Board. He is certified as a fire and explosion investigator through the National Association of Fire Investigators. In addition, he was issued a certificate of accreditation by The Florida Bar to teach Florida attorneys on fatal fire investigations. 

The city is the process of getting Tyson’s certifications incorporated into the police department records in order for him to be added to their roster because he will be working with them during some of his investigations.

In his duties as an inspector, he will be visiting businesses to see that fire safety codes are being enforced. Because he has a passion for fire safety, he will be active in fire safety and fire prevention education. The job description is being developed but Tyson indicated that he will do what is needed, but it will include a life safety section.

Mayor Mike Callis said, “This position is more proof of our commitment to the community to offer a high level of safety. Shaun brings a lot of experience, and as we move forward with fire safety inspections and fire investigations, Portland will greatly benefit.”

According to Tyson, he has worked over 400 fires involving real and personal property as the primary/lead investigator in conduction origin and cause investigations since 2015. He has made over 40 arrests in arson related cases, which gives him an arson clearance rate three times the national average.

Portland Fire Chief Sam Thornton said, “I am very happy to have Shaun come back to the Portland Fire Department and serve as the assistant chief. Shaun brings a wealth of experience and knowledge regarding fire investigation and has a passion for fire and life safety. He will help the department to continue to get better and help provide better service to our citizens.”

Tyson has received several professional awards during his career. Some of these awards include the International Association of Arson Investigators 9th Chapter Fire Investigator of the Year Award (2019), Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention Arson Investigator of the Year Award (2019), City of Portland, TN Chamber of Commerce Safety Award (2013), Portland Police Department Mayoral Commendation (2013 & 2011), and Metro-Nashville Police Department Chief’s Coin with Commendation (2010 & 2009).

Tyson said, “I actually wasn’t looking for a position. I was very happy and successful where I was. Chief Thornton reached out and we talked quite a bit. It was just the right time with my family and a good opportunity. Portland has always been home. We have family and friends in the area and have visited often since we moved. We kept our relationships when we moved.”

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