Billy Alcorn started as a firefighter in the Merced Fire Department and rose through the ranks to become the department’s Fire Chief.

Alcorn was named chief by City Manager Steve Carrigan and assumes the position March 25. Alcorn had been serving as the Acting Fire Chief since November.

“Chief Alcorn is an exceptional candidate who is well-qualified,” said Carrigan. “He knows the needs of the City and the needs of the Department.”

“The Chief has a range of experience and education that makes him exceptionally suited for the job. The residents of Merced should feel safe and secure knowing that we have him leading the Department,” the City Manager said.

The City conducted a national search for the fire chief that produced candidates from across the country.

“It’s an honor to work in the Fire Department that serves the community where I was born and raised. Having the opportunity to serve as Fire Chief is  a great privilege,” said Alcorn.

“This is a great department with a very strong organizational foundation.  As a team, the City of Merced Fire Department will continue to create innovative and efficient ways to maintain and improve our ability  to be a leader in the fire service,” Alcorn said.

Alcorn, 35, started at the City in 2004 as a firefighter, serving as a fire engineer, fire captain, and battalion chief, before becoming the Deputy Fire Chief in 2015. He has served in major fire incidents throughout the state – including the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa — as strike team leader, division and group team leader and safety officer.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration, graduating magna cum laude from Cogswell Polytechnical College. Alcorn is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.

Alcorn became a Confined Space Awareness Instructor, brought the department’s Confined Space Program into full compliance and obtained 100 percent certification for all of the department.

He created a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) partnership that enabled emergency responders to have accurate details on the locations of all fire hydrants, essential to quickly extinguishing fires. He has served as the department’s Public Information Officer, improving communications with the community.

The department’s training program has been coordinated under Alcorn, who collaborated with Merced County and other agencies for technical rescue exercises and to bring in training classes to improve the staff’s capabilities.

Alcorn planned for the purchase of new fire engines and a ladder truck, the training for the ladder truck, which saw the entire department trained in how to operate it.

Alcorn was named the Department’s Firefighter of the Year and the North Merced Rotary Club’s Firefighter of the Year in 2009.

Alcorn and his wife, Holly, have 3 children, ranging in age from grade school to high school.

In his spare time, he coaches youth sports, enjoys camping and the outdoors with his family and spending time at the gym.

The position pays $150,444.