Fire Chief Bearden Retires

After proudly serving the citizens of Carrollton and Carroll County for 42 years, Fire Chief Jimmy Bearden retired, effective May 1.

“The City of Carrollton Fire Department has been a great place to work and I’m proud that I’ve had the opportunity to help so many people in their time of need,” Chief Bearden said. “I’m very thankful that God sent me to this profession. He’s kept me safe all these years and given me strength. It’s been an honor to serve the citizens of Carrollton for so long. It’s been a very rewarding career.”

Jimmy began his career as a firefighter with the City of Carrollton in 1980 and has served in every position within the department. He was appointed fire chief in 2004.

Bearden is a state-certified firefighter, National Registry EMT, HAZ/MAT technician, state-certified instructor, public fire safety educator and a CPR instructor. He has received management or specialized training through the Georgia Fire Academy, West Central Technical College, Georgia Emergency Management Agency and numerous in-services and local schools. He has earned multiple certifications and received hours of training in fire control, rescue operations, extrication, mass medical incidents and triage, incident command, fire service management, HAZ/MAT mitigation and has completed a host of fire schools and specialty classes.

The department has grown from three small stations with 37 employees when Jimmy started to 67 people and four stations across town, including a multi-company station with a ladder truck and regional HAZ-MAT tractor trailer rig. During his career, the department has added EMS, HAZ-MAT and technical rescue to its responses, going from about 360 calls a year to more than 6,000 in 2021.

Under his leadership, the department has added five positions, 17 personnel and two new fire stations, began construction on a third (set to open in the fall of 2022) and developed a complete fleet of four new engines and a ladder truck. The city also recently completed a new 2,400-square-foot classroom facility at the Fire Department Training Center. The new building will be used for basic firefighter training, training of new recruits and honing existing firefighters’ skills.

Bearden was instrumental in moving the department to an ISO rating of 1. Only 393 of the 39,378 fire departments in the United States have earned the Insurance Service Office (ISO) Class 1 rating, with only 24 of those being in Georgia.

Deputy Fire Chief Allen English will succeed Bearden as Carrollton’s new fire chief. (For more on Allen, go to

Upon his retirement, Bearden plans to travel and spend more time with his family – wife Lynn, two sons, Kyle and Joe, and his grandchildren.