Copper Country News | Fire Marshal Bracamonte is retiring after 25 years of service

Fire Marshal Joe Bracamonte paused in mid-sentence when a call came on the radio. “It’s a motorcycle accident, it looks like they’re bringing in a helicopter,” said Bracamonte. “That’ll probably be the hardest part of not answering the call.”

“Other people say they won’t miss being called at 2am,” he said. “But I’ll tell you what, that’s what I’ll miss the most.”

It’s been 25 years since Joe Bracamonte was hired full-time by the Globe Fire Department and tomorrow, September 30th, will be his last day. “I’m emotional, definitely emotional,” he said as he stared at the radio, waiting to see if it was a helicopter they called or if the patient could be transported in an ambulance.

Bracamonte’s stellar career with Globe Fire began when he volunteered in 1993. He was hired full-time three years later and spent the next five years “on the truck”. It was around this time that Bracamonte developed an interest in fire investigations and fire regulations. He followed his heart and took the courses necessary to get the job of fire marshal; a title he would be proud to wear for the next 20 years.

In 2007, Bracamonte’s job description changed fundamentally, which would shape his career and life forever. He became a dog handler. “The community raised funds to buy an arsonist,” he said. “It was $ 7,500 and it was all used to buy K-9 Frank.” Bracamonte drove to Florence, Texas, and was greeted by a black lab at the Southern Star K-9 Ranch. Bracamonte said he knew immediately that he was the right dog for Globe. K-9 Frank served on active duty from 2007 to 2011 until he retired and was transferred to Bracamonte. He died on September 10, 2015 and is missed forever by the community and local school children who loved Frank. He was the Globe Fire Department’s first arsonist dog. “Frank was unique,” said Bracamonte.

The same year Frank retired, Bracamonte welcomed Evo, a Belgian Malinois off the Pacific coast of K-9 from Washington state. Evo was trained by Travis Baxley, the Gila County Sheriff’s K-9 supervisor. “Freeport McMoRan donated $ 6,500 to purchase Evo,” said Bracamonte. “She will turn 11 in January and retire the same day. Polite photo Joe Bracamonte and K-9 Evo are pictured above in front of the Justice Department seal. The couple were honored by the Justice Department and the FBI two years ago after handling a murder / arson case that broke up a gang and sent four people to federal prison. Fire Marshal Bracamonte is retiring after 25 years of service. ”Over the years Evo have been accredited with 60 arrests and convictions, six of which were investigations into arson and homicide. “Together we worked in 11 districts and worked on three arson cases for the FBI,” said Bracamonte. “We’re actually one of three arson K-9 teams in the state.”

Noteworthy is the extensive list of programs, fire investigations and educational opportunities in which Bracamonte has participated. “I ended up doing a lot of things that other firefighters don’t, such as wildlife surveys and the dog to help out with other departments,” he said.

He worked on both the Pioneer Hotel and Copper Hills fires (in partnership with ATF), conducted an article search following the Jammerz shooting, and worked on a triple fatal fire at Casa Grande. Bracamonte developed and taught a fire safety program in all Globe Miami schools, devoted himself to firefighter training for over 20 years, kicked off Frank’s K-9 Christmas in local nursing homes, and partnered with Judy’s Cookhouse for annual Christmas donations. He worked on multiple fire investigations for the State Land Forestry, the US Forest Service, BIA, the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Bracamonte has also been a member of the Pinal County Arson Task Force for several years. In total, he processed over 1,200 fires.

“I just want to say a quick thank you to all of the business owners and managers for working with me as a firefighter,” he said. “I am fortunate that I have been able to do what I love for a long time.” Going forward, Bracamonte is looking for an opportunity for a K-9 handler in the East Valley that will allow him to stay in the area. He’s also looking forward to spending more time with his daughter Bobbie, the firefighter and RN of the Tri-City Fire Department, and granddaughter Chadleigh, whom he affectionately calls “Nugget”.

Congratulations on your retirement, Fire Marshal Joe Bracamonte!

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