One of Tom Tarulli’s reasons for retiring from the Carson City Fire Department was simple.
“This is 38 years,” he said. “I had accomplished what I set out to do.”
Tarulli’s retirement became official near the end of September after 38 years of service. Tarulli has served in virtually every role in firefighting during his 38 years of service, which included more than 25 years in Largo, Fla., and the last 11 years in Carson City.
During his time in Florida, Tarulli did virtually everything from serving as a firefighter to being a battalion chief, county HazMat chief and assistant fire chief.
For the last nine of those years in Carson City, Tarulli served as an assistant fire chief, first in charge of fire prevention and then for the last seven years in charge of operations.
Tarulli and his wife, Linda, came to Northern Nevada in 1992 for their honeymoon, doing the tour of the Carson City and Lake Tahoe area and fell in love with the area.
They came to live in Carson City in 2005. Tarulli calls Carson City a “beautiful community” with “beautiful weather.”
In 2005, the Carson City Fire Department received a grant for an emergency preparedness management position and then-Fire Chief Stacy Giomi hired to fill the position.
Tarulli was given the task to form the Community Emergency Response Team, which uses citizens to help respond to major fires and disasters. The team still exists today. “That was really successful, really rewarding,” Tarulli said.
Two years later came the opening for assistant fire chief of fire prevention and Tarulli was again tabbed to fill the position. Tarulli then eventually filled the post as assistant fire chief of operations.
Tarulli has overseen all of the operations of the fire department over the last seven years, including personnel, facilities, maintenance, policies and procedures, budget and contracts with other agencies.
“I think I was respected by the personnel,” he said.
“I think I had respect of a lot of folks,” Tarulli added about the community.
When it came to the Carson City Fire Department, Tarulli said everything he did was designed for the “well-being and benefit” of the staff “and to give them the needed tools to do our job.”
But Tarulli stressed any success he had was because of his staff. “I think I was successful because of the people I work with. We had a great staff. I was successful because of them. I’m going to miss the camaraderie.”
It could be said Tarulli went out on top as shortly before his retirement in August. He was in charge of the command post of the Shooting Fire on C Hill. Again, though, it was the firefighters who deserve the credit, Tarulli said.
“This community got to see the talent of our guys and our mutual neighbors,” said Tarulli about the firefighters from Carson City and other agencies who helped wit the fire.
Tarulli said everything was done “to get a handle on it,” referring to the Shooting Fire.
“We were prepared, we expected it,” added Tarulli about the winds affecting the fire. Still, the winds caused the fire to reach the brink of the community before fire firefighters were just able to keep the fire from reaching the community. Tarulli said that was a testament to local, state and federal agencies working together.
It also was important for Tarulli to stay at the scene. “We could have driven away,” he said. “I had to do a job and I’m not going to drive away.”
It didn’t take long for Tarulli to see first hand after his retirement what winds could do in two recent major local fires, the fire in the south part of Carson City near Silver Sage and Clear Creek and the Little Valley Fire in Washoe Valley.
During those fires and so far during his retirement, Tarulli admits he’s still adjusting. “I’m a little lost,” he said. “I was on call 24 hours a day.”
But now it’s time to focus for Tarulli and his wife to focus on their grandchildren and their mothers, he said.
“Every day when I got dressed, when I put on that uniform, I was proud to put it on for this city. This is our home. We’re going to stay here.”