On June 1, Fire Inspector and Firefighter Kellie Murphy-Ringate received her fire marshal badge in a ceremony at the Excelsior Fire District.
The promotion ceremony provides the official change in her job title from fire inspector to fire marshal. The fire district conducts a promotion ceremony when new recruits complete their probation, firefighters become fire officers, or when fire officers change rank.
At the ceremony, the firefighter receives a new helmet and badge. The badge is “pinned” by a person selcted by the firefighter that is receiving the new badge. Former Excelsior Fire Marshal Cary Smith did the honors for Murphy-Ringate. Smith is now an assistant chief/fire marshal with the St. Louis Park Fire Department, but his roots are with the Excelsior district and his mentorship is deep with Murphy-Ringate.
Murphy-Ringate becomes the first female to have the position of fire marshal since the position was added to the fire district in the early 1980s.
When Murphy-Ringate joined the fire department Smith was the fire marshal. At the time, Murphy-Ringate was going to school to become high school or college level teacher in the field of wellness, so Smith asked her to help with teaching fire prevention classes.
The more Murphy-Ringate worked with Smith and learned about his job as a fire marshal and how fire prevention was an intricate part of the firefighting job, the more she considered changing her career path.
Murphy-Ringate began taking fire prevention related classes and in 1995 changed her degree to fire science.
Murphy-Ringate joined the fire department in February 1993. She is currently the longest female firefighter to serve on the fire district.
In 1997, Fire Chief Gary Ringate gave her the position of public relations person for the fire district, in 2005 she was hired as a part-time fire inspector, became the full-time fire inspector in 2008 and in March 2017 she was officially named the fire marshal for the fire district.
Murphy-Ringate said, “If you have a passion for what you do you will never work a day in your life.”