Alexandria Fire Chief Adam Thiel is resigning to accept an appointment by Gov. Terry McAuliffe as the deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security in Virginia.
The city announced Thiel's decision late Friday afternoon.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this amazing City and the committed members of our Alexandria Fire Department family,” Thiel said in a statement. “I know the Department will continue moving forward with dedication to our community, our profession and each other."
Thiel is expected to begin his new position in February. The city will launch a nationwide search for a new chief. City Manager Rashad Young will announce an acting fire chief at a later date.
Thiel became Alexandria’s fire chief in 2007. During his tenure, the department opened a new station at Potomac Yard and began construction of another new station on Eisenhower Avenue. He also helped oversee a complete replacement of the city’s front-line fleet of fire apparatus and EMS units and secured funding for a new fireboat.
Thiel served as Alexandria’s operations section chief for several presidentially declared disasters and helped pull the department through the 2012 in-the-line-of-duty death of paramedic Joshua Weissman.
This is the second gubernatorial appointment for Thield in his career; in 2002, Thiel, then with the Fairfax County Fire Department, was appointed by Gov. Mark Warner to lead the Virginia Department of Fire Programs following 9/11.
Thiel later joined the Goodyear (Ariz.) Fire Department before being hired as chief of the Alexandria Fire Department at age 35.
“Chief Thiel has served Alexandria with distinction,” Young said in a statement. “His strong leadership, strategic vision, and passionate commitment to our community have left an indelible mark on our City and ensure our continued safety. He has been a vital part of our team, and he will be missed.”
Thiel is known to frequently live tweet photos of Alexandria fire crews in action, training sessions and other city events on his @AFDChief200 handle.
In December, McAuliffe announced the nomination of Adm. John Harvey Jr. as his secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security at the Military Officers Association of America headquarters on N. Washington Street in Old Town.