Jim Franz took the reins of the Salado Fire Department on Jan. 1 as its first full-time Fire Chief, marking the transition from a fully volunteer organization to a hybrid organization that will have full-time staff to support the more than 20 volunteer first responders.
Shane Berrier, who has been Chief of the Salado Volunteer Fire Department for nine years, will be the Assistant Chief for the department.
He says that after nine years as Chief and 23 years as a volunteer, he is ready to step back from the day-to-day operations of the department that serves an area of more than 100 sq. miles and has almost 10 miles of interstate highway running through its middle.
In his last year as chief, Berrier has worked with the Board of Directors of the Bell County Emergency Services District #1 in making the transition from a fully volunteer organization to the first Emergency Services District in Bell County. Berrier led the effort to a successful election in November 2020 to form the ESD. Local voters overwhelmingly approved the formation of the ESD #1 with 4,108 voting in favor and 1,600 voting against.
Berrier was named the 2020 Citizen of the Year by the Salado Chamber of Commerce.
“Shane‘s dedication and love of the department and the community are immeasurable,” Franz said of Berrier. “He has established a firm foundation for the Fire Department to continue growing and providing reliable and effective Emergency Responses and community service.”
“I am truly honored to be working with Shane,” Franz added, “and look forward to his mentorship, and learning from his wealth of knowledge.”
Franz has been assistant chief for Salado VFD for the past year. He joined the SVFD three years ago.
He worked for 24 years with the Round Rock Fire Department, 12 years as Battalion Chief.
He worked two years as an instructor with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Services.
He worked 11 years in Safety & Emergency Management for Baylor Scott & White.
Franz holds Master Firefighter Certification and Master Inspector Certification through the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) and is a Field Examiner with the TCFP.
He and wife Anna moved to Salado with their children Jonathan and Jenna in 2007.
Franz is descended from early day Salado settlers. His great-great Grandfather James L Bailey was one of the original settlers of Salado and was heavily involved in the College and the Methodist Church.
His Great Grandfather CC Bailey helped construct the original Methodist Church and was part of the group who drove wagons to Austin to acquire building materials.