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Retiring Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Leaves 29-Year Legacy

STATEWIDE - January 31, 2020 - After more than 29 years of service to the State of Maryland, Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Joseph Flanagan retired today from the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Deputy Chief Flanagan was born and raised in The Bronx of New York City and moved to Salisbury in 1988 to attend Salisbury University. Coming from a long family history in the fire service, including his father, who was the Deputy Chief Fire Marshal of New York City Fire Department, Flanagan embarked on his career on May 16, 1990, when he was hired by former State Fire Marshal Rocco J. Gabrielle.

Flanagan graduated from the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy in September of 1990 and was assigned to the Lower Eastern Shore Office as a Deputy State Fire Marshal. In January 1999, Flanagan was promoted to Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal, commanding the same office he was initially assigned. In January 2005, after nearly a year in the acting capacity, former State Fire Marshal William Barnard promoted Flanagan to Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal. The role of Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal is a Field Operations Division management function involving the supervision and coordination of the agency's law enforcement activities in the field of fire prevention, fire safety inspections, fire investigations, and explosives control. 

Chief Deputy Flanagan was responsible for supervising five regions, the bomb squad, and the accelerants/explosives detection canine unit. He served as second in command to the State Fire Marshal and oversaw various administrative programs for the agency.

After nearly eight years, Flanagan voluntarily took the opportunity to return to his role as Deputy Chief of the Lower Eastern Shore Regional Office. During his tenure at the Office of the State Fire Marshal, Flanagan served as a K-9 handler as well as a Bomb Technician with the Bomb Squad. Flanagan served as Acting State Fire Marshal multiple times throughout his years as Chief Deputy.

Upon Flanagan being asked about his storied career and what he could pass on to future members of the agency after his retirement, "It's essential never to forget where you came from. While we don't live in history, history is where we came from. I have been honored to serve the State of Maryland, and I am forever grateful and appreciative of the opportunities and relationships during my career" stated Flanagan.

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