One of the first orders of business for the Tulare County Board of Supervisors in 2016 was to announce that Charlie Norman was hired as the new chief of the Tulare County Fire Department. Chief Norman, who officially assumed his duties on January 11, replaces Chief Joe Garcia who retired after 43 years in fire service.
Norman, a 1982 graduate of Woodake High School, spent lots of time in Three Rivers during his youth and has many friends in this part of the county. He earned a degree in fire science from College of the Sequoias and majored in organizational leadership at Chapman University.
Chief Norman, who began his career as a seasonal firefighter with Cal Fire in 1985, is certified by the Office of the State Fire Marshal as a Hazardous Materials Specialist and Fire Investigator.
He served with the Kings County Sheriff’s Department from 1989 to 1992. In that same year, Norman was hired as a firefighter with the City of Visalia.
With Visalia, Norman rose through the ranks to become Battalion Chief. He joined the Tulare County Fire Department in 2014 when he was hired as the Emergency Services Division Chief.
Along the way, Norman has found time to teach in area college fire science programs, serve on the Exeter City Council (1998-2008), the Tulare County Planning Commission (2009-2014), and the boards of the Exeter Ambulance District (1994-2002), and Exeter High School (2008-2010).
Norman said he was humbled and honored to become Tulare County’s fire chief.
“It was a different world when I was growing up in the 1980s,” Charlie said. “Now it’s all about accessibility. If you don’t know me already give me a call and get to know me.”
Charlie and his wife, Madaline, have been married for 27 years and have three children, Nate, 22; Kirby, 19; and Jake, 18. They reside in Visalia.
Chief Norman’s annual salary with Tulare County is $125,000.