Fire Chief Wood brought his new “duty” as a chronicler of Boca’s notorious anthrax incident. A full house of members and guests watched Wood’s PowerPoint on the 2001 incident at the former American Media Inc. building.
Meticulously researched, Wood stepped through each discovery and press conference, several with videos, as the story evolved from local news to a national media sensation. The tabloid’s photo editor Bob Stevens was the first fatality, and five deaths were eventually attributed to the anthrax attacks that involved the FBI and CDC. “The AMI letter was never recovered,” Wood noted. Tom is credited with creating the Boca Raton Fire Rescure’s HazMat response. They were one of the first to recognize the Anthrax incident seriously.
Tom served the City of Boca Raton Fire Rescue Services Department for 47.5 years, retiring on December 17, 2021. He served as the Department’s 6th career Fire Chief for 15.3 years.
Tom holds a Master of Science degree in Executive Fire Service Leadership from Grand Canyon University.
Among his many honors are:
• Three Outstanding Research Awards from the National Fire Academy, Executive Fire Officer Program in 1992, 1993 & 1995. Tom completed NFA Executive Fire Officer Program in 1995.
• State of Florida, Fire Marshal of the Year Award in 1996.
• Fellowship for Senior Executives in State and Local Government in 2000 at the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
• One of eighty contributing authors in Pass It On: The Second Alarm, published in April 2016.
• Completed the Homeland Security Executive Leaders Program at the Center for Homeland Defense & Security at the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California in June 2017.
Tom maintains two professional designations: CFO – Chief Fire Officer and FIFireE – Fellow Institution of Fire Engineers. The Fellow designation is only held by about 1% of the 11,000 members worldwide. Tom is currently serving as Secretary of the Institution of Fire Engineers – USA Branch.
Tom has been married to Rose Wood for 47 years. He has two married adult children, one child in college, and two grandchildren.
Tom is a Paul Harris Fellow and was a Rotary Club member from July 2003 through April 2013.