The City of Oak Ridge has named Travis Solomon as its new fire chief.
Solomon, who previously served as Oak Ridge Fire Department fire marshal, has served as interim fire chief since former Chief Darryl Kerley’s departure in August. Solomon begins serving as fire chief immediately, a press release said.
“Oak Ridge has always been the model and leading fire service,” Solomon said in the press release. “I want to continue that and enhance the services we provide to better our ability to serve the public.”
Solomon has served with the Oak Ridge Fire Department since February 2016 as fire marshal. In that role, he oversaw many procedures including inspections, plans review, fire investigations, and public education activities, the press release said.
Prior to coming to Oak Ridge, Solomon was a deputy state fire marshal with the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office for just over 13 years. He served as assistant supervisor for the Eastern Region and was responsible for the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus, where he oversaw Neyland Stadium renovations and ensured codes and safety compliance, the press release said.
However, that wasn’t his first experience in the fire service. From the moment he could walk and talk, he was learning about the fire service, the press release said.
“I was raised in it. I was born into it. My family started the New Market Fire Department. When I went to college, my main goal was to be a fire chief one day,” Solomon said.
While in New Market, he wore many hats from firefighter to lieutenant to fire captain, but fire chief was always in the back of his mind, the press release said.
Solomon is married to his high school sweetheart, Nicole, and they have a daughter together named Brooke and live in Oak Ridge, the press release said.
“This is our home. When my family arrived here five years ago, we felt and knew there was something special about this department and city,” said Solomon. “We felt a warm welcome and became a part of the community and fire department family.”
Solomon earned a bachelor’s degree in fire science from Columbia Southern University in June 2013, and an associate’s degree in fire protection from Walters State Community College in May 2002. Among his dozens of certifications and licenses, he holds his chief fire officer designation and fire marshal designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). He is also attending the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program, which is currently on hold due to COVID-19.
“Oak Ridge has given me the opportunity to attend classes, learn how to manage people, projects, and even how to prepare budgets,” he said. “I like helping people no matter how big or small the job is. As a public servant, that’s just what we do.”
On November 18, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee appointed Solomon to the Commission on Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education as a representative of the Tennessee Fire Chief’s Association, Tennessee Fire Safety Inspectors Association, and the Tennessee Fireman’s Association. His appointment runs through July 31, 2026.
Currently, Solomon is working toward his master of business administration in public administration at Columbia Southern University. He said he is always looking for new chances to learn more.
“Travis Solomon has provided solid leadership as interim chief since August, and we are excited to announce his full transition to fire chief this week,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said in the press release. “We have no doubt in his ability to lead the Oak Ridge Fire Department for many years to come.”
Solomon was sworn in during the December 14 Oak Ridge City Council meeting.