Human Interest

It didn’t take Jon Davis long before he realized he had made the right decision to join the Sedona Fire District.

“Everyone I’ve met here at the fire district and out in the community has been fantastic,” he said. “I come from a small town and Sedona has that same feel. Everybody knows everybody. Here, only the faces have changed. It feels like home.”

Davis was hired late last year as deputy fire marshal with his first day on the job being Halloween. Now that Fire Marshal Gary Johnson has retired, Davis will officially be sworn in as fire marshal next month. He said he was fortunate to have worked under Johnson his first two months in the new position.

“Gary had 39 years of institutional knowledge here — he knew everyone,” he said. “He knew every fire hydrant. He knew which sprinkler systems had issues and different things about different buildings. This is something I took for granted. I had 31 years in at my old job, where I had that same type of institutional knowledge. So to come here to Sedona, I had none of that. So yes, I’m still in the learning process.”

Davis said it was a great advantage to having had Johnson stay on the job during the transition period. He said just those two months he learned so much more than he would have had Johnson retired earlier.

“The good part is, I made an offer on a house and when I told Gary, he told me that’s just a few doors down from him,” he said. “He may regret my decision to buy three doors down because I’ll probably be knocking on his door quite often. But Gary’s great. He said any time I have a question I should feel free to call him.”

Davis started his career in 1985 as a volunteer firefighter in Lebanon, Ore. He became a full-time engineer/paramedic three years later. After 20 years as a firefighter in the field, he transferred to the fire suppression side where he served as fire marshal for 10 years until his retirement late last year.

After growing up in the Lebanon area, he said the decision to apply and accept a job somewhere completely different was easy. He and his wife were looking for a new adventure and being lovers of the outdoors, they felt Sedona was the place for them.

“Having been here a few months now, it’s the same small town feel we had back home,” he said. “We’re not regretting our choice to come here at all. I can say I would regret having not done it.”

Chief Kris Kazian said that Davis has been a wonderful addition to the team.

“He has shown his ability to catch on quickly and his passion for fire prevention align nicely with our agency,” he said. “I am confident we have found a great replacement for Gary Johnson. While Gary left big shoes to fill, Jon has jumped right in and is going to pick up right where Gary left off.”


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