DFR's New Fire Chief Talks Job, Faith and Advice that Guides Him

Monday morning, the City of Dallas and the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department will swear in its 17th Fire Chief: Dominique D. Artis.

NBC 5 Photojournalist John Thompson sat down with Chief Artis and they talked about his new job, his impressive training class in 1995, and how his faith plays a role in his service.

Looking back at what brought him this far in his career, Dallas' new Fire Chief, Dominique D. Artis, reflected on a great life lesson he learned early in his training.

"One of our instructors always told us, 'whatever you do, do it well and make sure other folks know that you do it well,'" Chief Artis said.

His service at Dallas Fire-Rescue started 23 years ago. It was 1995 and their trainee class had around 20 ambitious women and men.

"We were bright, bushy tailed, I didn't have any grey hair at the time," Chief Artis said with a laugh. "Had a bunch of athletes in the class, so we were very, very competitive."

He said they were both physically competitive and competitive in the classroom.

Chief Artis said, to his knowledge, his training class is the only one in Dallas history to have every person who started make it through to the end.

"We just really bonded well," Chief Artis said. "We cared about the next person to make sure that all of us passed together, not leaving one person behind, but we were able to make sure everybody had the same opportunity to make it through the school."

After graduation, Artis started as a fire-rescue paramedic, followed by a variety of roles that prepared him for the biggest job yet: being promoted to chief where he oversees a department of 2,000 people.

"I tell you it's amazing and terrifying at the same time," Chief Artis said. "This is a large city and I'm excited about the opportunity to be the Fire Chief, but it was nerve racking at first—thinking about the magnitude of what I have accepted—because it's the public safety of the entire city."

He said he's a servant-leader by heart, and talks daily with his team about how to make sure DFR is prepared to be the best.

"Making sure that our folks have the best equipment, making sure that we give them the best training that's possible, making sure all those things come together to make sure that this city is safe, making sure that our people are safe," Chief Artis said.

Having the opportunity to serve his community as Chief, is something he credits to hard work, great mentors, and his faith.

"What the Lord has allowed me to do as a man, as a husband, as a deacon at Concord Church, was to see that the Lord is working in my life, through my life, to position me to make an impact."

And that impact will be made while protecting the people of Dallas, while using the life and work experience that have brought him this far.

The ceremony to swear in Dominique D. Artis as Dallas Fire-Rescue’s 17th Fire Chief is 5:30 p.m. Monday at Concord Church in Dallas.

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