First Responder: Darian Williams, Chief of Fire Protection, St. George

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BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC Local 33) (FOX 44) — The chief of fire prevention for the St. George Fire District Darian Williams continues to keep the community at the forefront of his mind after nearly 30 years working as a first responder.

“That’s one of my goals, when I go out and do inspections, it’s not just an inspection to find things wrong, it’s to educate our constituents,” said Williams when he sat down with NBC Local 33’s Kelly Anne Beile.

Williams said that while he hears feedback the community wants more firefighters, he takes the opportunity to explain that education is the more cost-effective solution.

“Once the fire department shows up on scene, there’s a loss,” said Williams. “They’re going to have to clean up the water, you’re going to have smoke damage, so you’re going to have a lot more people coming to your facility versus not having a fire initially.”

Williams began his career in the fire service in 1991. While working with the Baton Rouge Fire Department, he earned the honor of ‘firefighter of the year.’

Today, Williams heads a department that performs building inspections, enforces code and helps determine the cause of a fire.

“We mostly call it origin calls, where the fire began and we also determine whether it was intentional or not,” Williams told Beile. “If it’s intentional, then we’ll proceed with an arson investigation.”

At the end of the day however, Williams said through all the sacrifices to his family over the years, one of the biggest rewards of the job is finding home and business owners who practice fire safety.

“I don’t like writing people up for violations,” said Williams, “So, if I can come to your business and never have to write you up again, I’m happy. I’m very satisfied. That means we’ve done our job.”

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