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Kirk Waters takes oath as Manteca fire chief
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Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters and his wife Shelly gathered with their children after the official badge ceremony in the city council chambers. Standing next to Waters is 3-year-old Gideon. Children, from the left, are Dallas, 9, Lydia, 5, Eleanor, 11, Ruth, 14 and Abigail, 13. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Kirk Waters is officially Manteca’s permanent fire chief.

Waters was sworn in to office Monday afternoon during ceremonies at the Manteca City Council chambers before a packed house of friends, family and comrades – many of whom had to stand along the back wall and the sides of the room.

Waters – a 22-year veteran of the Manteca Fire Department – took over the position as interim chief after the retirement of Chief Chris Haas last December.  Waters has a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science and a master’s degree in Business Administration.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton opened the ceremonies and lauded Waters for his years of service and for the professionalism and leadership he exhibited as acting chief in trying economic times over the last 10 months.  Pinkerton said Waters effectively brought his firefighters together to restructure the organization and reduce costs.

City Clerk Joann Tilton administered the oath of office to Waters as he stood in front of the council table with his wife Shelly at his side and their six children watching from their front row seats.  His parents Dahl and Gail Waters sat next to them.  His father is also a veteran of the fire service.

“I feel really blessed,” Waters said, “because people are so great.  I am looking forward to continue to do my best for our customers and for the city.”

Waters chuckled when he noted that his family had taken a vote on his taking the chief’s position.  He said the vote was almost unanimous in favor with the exception of one of his children who questioned the wisdom of his stepping down from driving a fire department SUV to a sedan.

At the conclusion of the ceremony the many firemen and friends crowded to the front to congratulate the new chief including former Chief George Quaresma who retired in December 2007.

Chris Haas took the reins only to retire a year later in 2008.

Waters is also a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program and serves on the board of directors of several organizations: The Manteca/Lathrop Boys & Girls Club, the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Raymus HOPE Family Shelter.  He has been a coach for the youth basketball for the Manteca Parks and Recreation Department as well as for area elementary schools.