Barbara Tripp was sworn in Friday as the first female fire chief in Tampa’s history. She is the 13th Black, female fire chief in the nation, a statement from the City of Tampa said.
She is Tampa Fire Rescue’s 22nd chief. She was appointed by a 6-0 vote from the Tampa City Council on Thursday.
Tripp grew up in East Tampa and has worked in Tampa Fire Rescue for 23 years. She served as the interim fire chief since November.
Tripp became the interim director during an investigation into the conduct of former Fire Chief Nick LoCicero. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated LoCicero for six months before ultimately clearing him of any wrongdoing. LoCicero retired in May after being cleared in the investigation.
Tripp was introduced by Castor at that time as the interim fire chief, and referred to her as the “world’s greatest fire chief.”
Within her first hours of the full-time position, a crew of 72 members of Urban Task Force 3, which includes special operations forces within Tampa Fire Rescue, traveled to Surfside, Florida to assist in the search for bodies after a 12-story apartment building collapsed Thursday. They will be deployed for seven days.
“She’s not standing here because she’s an African American female. She’s standing here because she’s going to do the best job at leading this department forward,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said on Friday.