Fire Chief Allen Shelton announces retirement

Garden City Fire Department Chief Allen Shelton, middle, accepts the 2018 Fire Chief of the Year award from President of Kansas State Fire Chiefs Association Pat Collins, left, and KSAFC Ex Officio Brad Smith, right. Shelton will retire from the department July 1 after a 44-year career.

GARDEN CITY – Garden City Fire Chief Allen Shelton has announced his retirement from the City of Garden City effective July 1, after a 44-year career including 37 as fire chief.

“I am very grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to serve this department and community for the past 44 years. I am looking forward to having more time with my family, friends, travel and pursuing my interest in our community and faith-based projects. Garden City is a great place to work and live,” Shelton said in a media release from the City of Garden City.  

Before being appointed the first career fire chief for the Garden City Fire Department in 1984, Shelton served the department in the capacities of volunteer firefighter, volunteer assistant chief and volunteer fire chief for the all-volunteer department.

During Shelton’s time as Chief, the department grew from one full-time employee to a total of 38 employees, including three Battalion Chiefs, a Fire Marshal, six lieutenants, 26 firefighters, and an administrative assistant. The department currently makes use of two stations, and a third station is tentatively planned to open in 2024.

During his career, Shelton has served on numerous committees, associations, and boards. In October 2018, Chief Shelton was named Fire Chief of the Year by the Kansas State Association of Fire Chiefs.

“It’s hard to imagine a Garden City Fire Department without Chief Shelton. Chief has devoted his entire professional career to transforming a volunteer fire department into a predominantly full-time department that has the personnel, equipment, and training capable of serving a growing city,” City Manager Matt Allen said. “Chief’s leadership in the partnership with Garden City Community College to enhance their Fire Science curriculum and his commitment to providing top quality technical and leadership training to department staff will continue to benefit the department and the City long after his retirement.”

A search for the next Chief will be conducted this summer.

commitment to providing top quality technical and leadership training to department staff will continue to benefit the department and the City long after his retirement.”

A search for the next Fire Chief will be conducted this summer.