James City County Native Appointed to Fire Marshal Job

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Kendall Driscoll (Courtesy James City County)
Kendall Driscoll (Courtesy James City County)

Twenty years of service to James City County, the place where he has spent almost all of his life, has seasoned Kendall Driscoll for his latest assignment as the county’s fire marshal.

The job requires someone ready to dive into the minutiae of building codes and fire regulations, as it is his office that is responsible for reviewing site plans for safety issues and for going out to newly constructed buildings to ensure they are not fire hazards.

Driscoll is also in charge of determining the cause of fires and investigating bombings, arsons and hazardous materials incidents.

“Every day is different,” said Driscoll, who has served as an assistant fire marshal since 2004. “We’ll have a day that we schedule different inspections and meetings and that sort of thing, but any time an emergency call can come in, we get to work on it. It’s not the same thing day after day.”

After 11 years as an assistant fire marshal, he decided to apply for the fire marshal position following John Black’s retirement at the end of last year. He loves working in the fire marshal’s office, where he is on the front lines and able to watch as new buildings are constructed and the county grows.

Candidates for the job were screened by a search committee, which ultimately recommended Driscoll to Chief Tal Luton, who agreed with its findings.

“He’s meticulous,” Luton said. “He’s an excellent researcher. If he gives you an answer to a question, you can be assured that it’s going to be the correct answer based on the research he has done.”

Luton’s decision to promote Driscoll to the job was taken to the county’s board of supervisors, which voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint him to the post.

The new job is a continuation of a career built solely on service to the county. After graduating from Lafayette High School, he spent four years at Longwood University, where he earned a degree in sociology. He then returned home and started work as a James City County police officer in 1995.

“From the time that I was young, I wanted to do something where I served the community,” he said. “I got to do that as a police officer. I enjoyed that. But I was looking for something with a more positive outcome, so that’s when I came to the fire department.”

He began work as a firefighter in 2001. A position then came open for an assistant fire marshal in 2004, and since he already had experience as an investigator and a law enforcement officer, he decided to request a transfer.

“The investigation side of it is pretty exciting,” he said. “When we can determine the cause of a fire, and if it’s determined to be intentionally set, we bring the person responsible for that to account.”

He will oversee three assistant fire marshals in his new position. There are four other people in the department trained to work in the fire marshal’s office if more hands are needed, but they primarily spend their time working as firefighters and EMS personnel.

For Luton, the appointment of Driscoll as fire marshal means that critical part of his department is in good hands.

“I have full faith in Kenny’s abilities to do the job,” he said. “I know that he’s going to be a good fit for the department and for the community.”