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Childress named Deputy State Fire Marshal of Year for region

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STEVENSVILLE — Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Brad Childress of Stevensville has been selected as Deputy State Fire Marshal of the Year for the Upper Eastern Regional Office, the State Fire Marshal’s Office announced Saturday, May 30. Childress will join other deputy state fire marshals who will be chosen throughout the state for the 2019 James C. Robertson Deputy State Fire Marshal of the Year Award.

“It’s great to be recognized for this award,” Childress said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my wife and kids, my entire family, my co-workers and the United Communities Volunteer Fire Department, where I have volunteered 17 years.

“It’s truly a team effort, and I hope to represent Kent Island and Queen Anne’s County.”

The news release on Childress’s selection for the honor said he worked consistently and efficiently to ensure he provided the best service to the State of Maryland. Childress handled nearly a third of the fire investigations in the Upper Eastern Region, with 25 of the 85 total fire and explosives investigations as well as volunteering to be on-call investigator for the Lower Eastern Regional Office when their office requested staffing assistance.

Childress worked relentlessly on 10 criminal cases, which lead to seven arrests and five cases closed by arrest, according to the news release. In addition to a 50% closure rate, he also had seven convictions during 2019.

His criminal investigations included cases of fraud, pyromania and curiosity. These statistics not only show his hard work to ensure criminals are held responsible for their actions, but his work is thorough and efficient, the fire marshal’s office said.

Childress reached this level of success in only 10 months of the 2019 year. Given another two months of opportunity, Childress would have closed several other cases and added even more arrests to his totals. Unfortunately, Childress was forced to undergo open heart surgery in November at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

During his recovery at home, Childress suffered stomach complications that resulted in a major gastrointestinal bleed and was rushed to Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, where he received six units of blood and a unit of plasma. After recovering, he wanted to give back, so Childress organized a blood drive that collected 68 units of blood.

The heart surgery and g.i. bleed did not stop him; Childress was determined to recover and return to work as soon as possible. In fact, he returned to work four weeks earlier than anticipated with a stronger work ethic and passion for life, the fire marshal’s office said.

While not handling fire investigations, Childress conducted 99 inspections during 2019. He is always willing to assist with inspections and brings forth the knowledge and experience necessary to the regional fire safety inspector. He offers support to the entire region with his willingness to swap on-call days, handle complaints, and manage special assignments, the fire marshal’s office said.

Childress also is an instructor for fire investigation an arson awareness at the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute in Centreville and the local high school.

Both Childress and his wife Jenna are native Kent Islanders and have lived here their whole lives. She is a teacher in Talbot County, who has been teaching from home during the school closure for coronavirus. They have three elementary-age children: Hunter, Luke and Laney.

The Upper Eastern Regional Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal consists of Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline and Talbot counties.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office is divided into six regions. In addition to the local Upper Eastern Regional Office based in Easton, there are Western Regional, Northeast Regional, Southern Regional, and Lower Eastern Regional offices and the Bomb Squad Unit out of BWI.

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