Salute The Badge: Amarillo Fire Department veteran protects his hometown

ABC 7 salutes District Chief Phillip Thomas who has served with the Amarillo Fire Department for 21 years. (Kase Wilbanks/ABC 7 Amarillo)

ABC 7 salutes District Chief Phillip Thomas of the Amarillo Fire Department.

Thomas grew up in Amarillo. After high school, he began volunteering in Randall County. Soon after that, he graduated from Amarillo College's first Fire Academy.

“Graduated in May and started working in August, enjoyed it ever since. I just love it," Thomas said. "The fire service for most people is a calling, I mean who doesn’t as a little boy dream of being a fireman or a cop or whatever the case is. It’s the best career in the world.”

As District Chief with AFD, he coordinates operations of the many dangerous scenarios his team faces.

“You have to be able to think far enough ahead, especially in a wildfire situation. There’s a lot of things you can’t see. We work to get enough resources there to take care of the problem," Thomas said.

In his 21 years of service he's responded to major emergencies including structure fires, car wrecks, massive wildfires and more. Colleagues credit his work in implementing Amarillo's TAC Medic program. He was one of the founding members of the group that teams up with the Amarillo Police Department's SWAT unit.

“At least one or two of us will go out with them, we don’t make entry, no long guns. We stay in the background with medical equipment, take care of them and civilians. We are the medical support,” Thomas said.

“I think what the team has done has help bolstered our relationship with APD, we have a great working relationship. They know what we do, we know what they do, those guys have brought us in and treated us like their own.”

Thomas is humble when asked about his accomplishments with the Department.

“We don’t go looking for accolades or medals, it’s not how we are wired. We come here to do our job, do the best we can and make sure everybody goes home in the morning.”

For his service in protecting and serving Amarillo, we salute AFD District Chief Phillip Thomas.

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