Written By: Prince William County
Thomas LaBelle is Prince William County’s new Fire and Rescue System Chief, effective May 1, 2023.
With more than 30 years working in emergency services organizations, Chief LaBelle has most recently served as a Deputy Chief with the Henrico County Division of Fire, with expertise in Community Risk Reduction. He previously spent five years as the Division Chief with Albemarle County Fire Rescue, managing the Executive Board and volunteer components of their combination Fire Rescue System.
Prince William County’s Fire and Rescue System is comprised of the Department of Fire and Rescue and eight volunteer fire and rescue departments. These organizations work together to provide high-quality and efficient firefighting and emergency medical services to Prince William County and currently consists of a combination of 722 full-time employees and 391 operational volunteer personnel.
As the county’s Fire and Rescue System Chief, Chief LaBelle will be responsible for Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Management Services. The county’s combined Fire and Rescue System provides emergency incident operations, emergency preparedness and staffing of the emergency operations center. The Fire and Rescue System also provides fire, injury and illness prevention for the community, along with training and education programs for the preparedness of department personnel.
“Chief LaBelle’s experience in public safety speaks to his understanding and insights in managing a combination fire system and building community relationships through engagement and public service,” said Chair At-Large Ann Wheeler. “We look forward to him joining us in Prince William County.”
“I have spent my entire life supporting fire and EMS personnel, fire departments and the communities they protect,” said LaBelle. “I’m excited to now be able to serve the Prince William Fire and Rescue System and the Prince William community. I truly believe that the career and volunteer workforce in the county’s Fire and Rescue System are outstanding, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to work side by side with its members.”
Chief LaBelle has worked extensively with volunteer companies. He also brings a vast knowledge of state and national labor organizations, local labor associations and collective bargaining units.
“We are excited to welcome Chief LaBelle as the county’s new Fire and Rescue System Chief,” remarked County Executive Christopher Shorter. “Based on his knowledge and experience, he is well-positioned to continue in the development and leadership of our great Fire and Rescue System.”
Chief LaBelle has a Bachelor of Science from Hartwick College and is working toward a Master in Homeland Security from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He graduated from the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program in 2019. He holds multiple certifications, including Chief Fire Officer – Commission on Public Safety Credentialing and Pro Board Certificated as a Fire Officer III, Fire Instructor II and Fire Investigator.