Hundreds remember Fire Chief Jon Tibbetts
Posted at: 07/27/2012 2:39 PM
| Updated at: 07/27/2012 3:46 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Family members and fire crews from all over New Mexico honored the life of former Sandoval County Fire Department Chief Jon Tibbetts this morning.
Tibbetts died in a car accident Monday morning and his death is still difficult to grasp for most.
"Shocked. In disbelief. No one expects that to happen so suddenly," Christopher Aguilar said, who used to work for Tibbetts and the Sandoval County Fire Department.
Aguilar now works for the Roswell Fire Department. He said Tibbetts example made him a better firefighter.
"You could always feel his presence in every bit of the department," Aguilar said. "In the truest sense of the words, he would train right alongside you."
Fire crews from the metro area and all across the state paid respects to Tibbetts.
Albuquerque Fire Chief James Breen said Tibbetts improved a hurting fire department when he took over in Sandoval County in 2004.
"[The department] lacked effectiveness and when [Tibbetts] got there, he really brought people together, and he built new stations, Breen said.
Breen said Tibbetts also carried himself well under pressure.
"Jon was intelligent, insightful, and whenever we saw him on a working incident, his appearance was always welcome because we knew things would get better," he said.
James Maxon will head the department for now.
KOB Eyewitness News 4 is told that Maxon has been with the Sandoval County Fire Department since 2006 and has more than 20 years of fire service experience.
County Manager Philip Rios said he's confident Mazon is the right person to lead the department at such a critical time.
The county will conduct a search for a permanent chief.