State Fire Marshal Butch Browning, a former Gonzales fire chief, retires

Staff Report

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning has accepted the position of executive director of the National Association of State Fire Marshals, effective May 15.

Browning, who previously served as Gonzales fire chief, has served as fire marshal for 14 years, the longest in Louisiana history.

"Butch has been a valued member of my cabinet, helping lead our state through some of the strongest hurricanes and severe weather on record," Edwards stated in a news release. "His expertise and knowledge were crucial to helping work with the business community as we navigated ways in which to keep communities safe during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic."

State Fire Marshal Chief H. “Butch” Browning

Browning was first appointed in 2008 and has served through two, two-term governors.

He has implemented higher safety standards for building and construction and increased arson abatement across the state to professional levels that has received nationwide recognition, according to the release. He has developed, from the ground up, a robust, responsive, and recognized Urban Search and Rescue program.

"This is a bittersweet day for me as I am so proud to look back on what this agency has become over the past 14 years, but also that I will not be as integral of a part of its bright future, though I will remain its strongest cheerleader from the sidelines,” stated Browning. “I want to thank Governor Edwards for allowing me to serve the citizens, specifically the fire and life safety industry. I look forward to using my 34 years of experience to not only promote the great work of Louisiana firefighters, but also to be a partner in national change as it relates to better safety, protection, and economic development. 

Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning addresses the crowd at the grand opening for the Donaldsonville Fire Station on Dec. 5, 2019.

State Fire Marshal Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel H. Wallis has been named as Browning's successor. He has been a member of the fire service for nearly 30 years working with the Zachary Fire Department where he was recognized as Firefighter of the Year in his first year as a career fireman in 1980 and was named that department's fire chief in 2000.

"It is an honor that the governor and the citizens of Louisiana have the confidence in me to continue the positive progression of this agency as its leader," Wallis stated.