Madison Fire Chief Debra Amesqua to Retire


Madison Fire Chief Debra Amesqua, the first woman to lead the department, and also one of the first female firefighters in the country, announced this past Wednesday that she will retire January 3.

Amesqua was one of only seven women to head one of the nation’s 32,000 fire departments when she was named chief in January 1996. She was also a field training officer in Tallahassee, FL for twelve years.

During Amesqua’s 16-year tenure she saw all of the department’s frontline equipment replaced, the first new fire station in 25 years (with three more to come), the addition of a seventh ambulance, as well as other improvements.

Amesqua, a Hispanic, was also awarded the Alverno College Alumni Association award for professional achievement for her work on senior level management training for fire service women, and for breaking down barriers for people of color.

As her 16-year tenure at Madison comes to a close Amesqua said, “It has been a great run.” She also commented, “I will leave knowing that we succeeded together, working our way through challenges, jointly overcoming obstacles and making a difference for this great community in the only way that lasts. We worked collaboratively and respectfully with each other.”