After working 30-plus years in the fire department industry, Fire Marshal Carl McMurphy has finally decided to put up his badge and uniform and retire.
Before becoming a fire marshal, McMurphy was unsure of what to pursue while he was in college, which led to him changing his major four times.
“Five if you count EMS,” McMurphy said.
He ended up getting a bachelor’s degree in fire protection and safety engineering from Oklahoma State University and secured his first job in July 1991 at the Farmers Branch Fire Department. In April 1999, he worked at the University Park Fire Department until March 2005, where he relocated to The Colony Fire Department and has been there ever since.
When McMurphy first arrived in The Colony, the spaces today where businesses such as Nebraska Furniture Mart and Top Golf are located were just fields of wheat.
During his years, the city experienced a boom of urbanization; here McMurphy left an imprint in the city’s buildings.
As fire marshal, his job was to make sure each building in compliance with fire and life safety codes in its construction and planning. He worked alongside contractors in the making of infrastructure in The Colony and was in charge of things such as sprinkler systems, fire alarms and the design of safely getting people to exit buildings.
“He really was an integral part of building the new The Colony,” Fire Chief Scott Thompson said. “His legacy impacts the fire department and the people to come. Our fire operations are greatly impacted by how he set them up so that it was safer and more efficient for firefighters, but also the people who live and visit the city will be protected.”
One thing from the fire department that will stick with McMurphy for the rest of his life is his relationship with his coworkers.
“They are a family,” McMurphy said. “They support you ... they’re like that brother or sister that nobody else can pick on you but them. The camaraderie, the sitting down for meals, the togetherness.”
Not only is McMurphy leaving his position with a second family he can rely on, but a new mindset on what it really means to be a fire marshal.
“This isn’t just a job, this is a career. This is a lifestyle,” McMurphy said. “You get up in the middle of night whenever you have to, you go to work when you need to, you put your personal life on hold a lot of times. So it takes somebody who is very dedicated.”
In addition to working as a fire marshal, for the past 20 years McMurphy has been teaching college and academy students about inspections, investigations, plan examining and even driver operation. This side job allowed him to “keep his skills up and keep proficiency in his craft” he said.
For his retirement, he plans to continue his career of teaching at Collin College where he will teach about fire science to future fire marshals in the making.
“I enjoy passing on experiences that we’ve already learned to prevent them from happening again,” McMurphy said.
Although working at the fire department brought both good and bad days and times where he missed holidays and big milestones, McMurphy wouldn’t change it for the world.
“I don’t regret anything that I’ve done,” he said. “I probably would've done it all over again.”