Chino Valley Fire Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Jeff Gual who will retire on Dec. 27.
Chino Valley Fire Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Jeff Gual who will retire on Dec. 27. (Courtesy photo)

CHINO -- After 38 years of serving the Chino Valley Fire District, Deputy Chief and Fire Marshal Jeff Gaul will retire on Thursday.

Gaul began his career with the district as a firefighter in 1974, when it was known as the Chino Rural Fire Protection District.

One of the most significant achievements Gaul made is when the district launched a paramedic program in 1974 and he - along with five other men - obtained a paramedic certification from Loma Linda University.

"To try to care for people with just basic first-aid skills, then to come back at the end of the year and be able to bring the emergency room out to the scene with an EKG and medication, it was really amazing," Gaul, 59, said.

"It was new and significant for me and the fire service."

Now, the industry standard requires there is a paramedic on every ambulance and fire unit.

"That was really something I enjoyed and I liked being part of," Gaul said. "It was amazing to see the difference in what we could do to help people at the scene and stabilize them before we transported them. That was pretty cool."

By 1979 Gaul was promoted to the rank of engineer, then captain in 1981; platoon supervisor in 1986; battalion chief in 1990; and his most recent promotion to deputy chief/fire marshal in early 2012, according to a news release.

As deputy chief he was the coordinator for the Chino Valley Fire's Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team and chairman for the San Bernardino County USAR Group.

He has served as coordinator for the Fire District's haz mat team, as an EMS coordinator and served many years as the district training officer, according to a news release.

Gaul said he made the most difference when he was battalion chief working different assignments, training officers and running the EMS, haz mat and USAR.

Interim Fire Chief Tim Shackelford said it's going to be tough to fill Gaul's shoes.

"It's apparent he is very dedicated; he could have retired a number of years ago but he continued to serve the community of the fire district," Shackelford said.

"He's consistent, is a great historian and has a tremendous amount of knowledge of how the Chino Valley area has evolved to today."

Gaul was born in Baltimore, Md. and raised in Ontario.

His next door neighbor, an engineer for the Ontario Fire Department, got him interested in the field.

Gaul graduated from Chaffey High School in Ontario in 1971 and continued his education at Chaffey College where he took courses in its fire science program.

It was then he knew he wanted to go into the profession.

"Just going there, learning, and taking the different courses and preparing to be a fireman - I was hooked," Gaul said.

He later received a bachelor's degree in fire protection administration, from Cal State Los Angeles.

Gaul's position will be filled once the Chino Valley Fire District board of directors select a new fire chief.

Shackelford was approved to be the interim chief after Fire Chief Kirk Summers retired in October.

The board has hired Bob Murray and Associates to conduct the recruitment process.

"They've hired an outside company to help them narrow down to the top candidates and once they select the fire chief then he'll place the deputy chief," said Massiel Ladr n De Guevara, spokeswoman for the Fire District.

Gaul has resided in Chino for more than 25 years with his wife Liz.

He plans to spend his retirement relaxing, traveling and playing guitar in a blues band called The Delta 88s. He's been with the band for five years.


Reach Canan via email, call her at 909-987-6397 ext. 425, or find her on Twitter @ChinoValleyNow.