Bob Thomas, a veteran fire inspector and former spokesman for the state fire marshal's office, has been named chief deputy state fire marshal, the agency's No. 2 position.
Thomas, 47, who recently served as commander of the fire marshal's Bel Air office, replaces Robert H. Shimer, who retired last month after 28 years with the fire marshal's office. Thomas' duties include overseeing the agency's five regional offices and its bomb squad.
A resident of Joppa and a member and former president of the Harford County school board, Thomas has worked 22 years in the state fire marshal's office. He's inspected hundreds of fires, many of them fatal.
In 1991, he oversaw the flood of calls to the bomb squad about suspicious packages. In 1992, he worked on the investigation of an arsonist setting fires along Main Street in Ellicott City. And two years ago, as head of the agency's Westminster office, he sought the arsonist who set 11 barn fires in northern Carroll County.
State Fire Marshal Rocco J. Gabriele praised his new assistant yesterday as "hard-working."