City renames central fire station for longtime chief

Fire Chief Allen Shelton, center, looks on during Tuesday’s Garden City Commission meeting. The city has renamed its central fire station as the Allen Shelton Central Fire Station, in honor of Shelton who retired July 1 after 44 years with the fire department.

GARDEN CITY — The City of Garden City on Tuesday officially renamed the central fire state as the Allen Shelton Central Fire Station, in honor of longtime Fire Chief Allen Shelton’s 44 years of dedicated service to the department and the city.

Shelton retired on July 1.

“I’m very honored that the Central Fire Station will bear my name. There’s no words to express how grateful I am. I am very grateful,” Shelton said during Tuesday’s Garden City Commission meeting. “Thank you all very much. The City of Garden City has been fantastic to me over the last 44 years. Just a great place to work and live.”

“Thanks to the Chief for the years of service; thanks to the commission for allowing us to push this a little early with confidence and make this a surprise at the retirement,” City Manager Matt Allen said.

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.

A search for the next fire chief will get underway this summer. Battalion Chief Rick Collins has been named Interim Fire Chief for the department.

Allen Shelton, who retired as Chief of the Garden City Fire Department on July 1, addresses the Garden City Commission Tuesday after the city renamed the central fire station after the former chief.