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City of Gainesville Names New Fire Chief

Press release from City of Gainesville

Joseph W. Dixon, Sr. has been named fire chief of the City of Gainesville and Gainesville Fire Rescue. He is expected to begin his new role March 15. 

Chief Dixon most recently served as fire chief of the City of Goldsboro in North Carolina. There, he implemented a reorganization to include the positions of deputy chief and lieutenant, enabling additional advancement opportunities within the department at a cost savings to Goldsboro. He also served in various roles at the Howard County Maryland Fire Department, rising to the rank of assistant fire chief.  

Chief Dixon earned a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science from the University of Maryland and a Master of Arts in Executive Leadership/Fire and Rescue from Waldorf College. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy, Executive Fire Officer Program.  

“Chief Dixon will continue Gainesville’s tradition of exploring new and novel ways to provide public safety services to our neighbors. As we work to implement our strategic plan, GFR will assume a greater role in helping us to address community health, and I look forward to working with Chief Dixon to tackle this critical challenge,” said Gainesville City Manager Lee Feldman. 

Interim Fire Chief JoAnne Rice has led GFR since September, upon the retirement of Chief Jeffrey Lane. She extended her plans for retirement at that time and now has set her retirement from the department for Feb. 9.

“I would like to personally recognize and thank Chief Rice for her exceptional leadership during this transition period, which included serving as Incident Commander for the Westwood Estates Sinkhole response,” said Feldman. 

Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Stephen Hesson will transition into the role of interim fire chief Feb. 9 until Chief Dixon’s start date.