The Alabama Department of Insurance will honor retiring State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk at an event today at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery beginning at 11:00 a.m. State Fire Marshal Paulk is retiring after almost forty (40) years of public service including thirty-two (32) years of service with the State Fire Marshal’s office Paulk has served as State Fire Marshal in Alabama for ten (10) years. Before his appointment as State Fire Marshal, he served seven (7) years as Assistant State Fire Marshal and fifteen (15) years as Deputy State Fire Marshal.
Alabama Insurance Commissioner Jim Ridling said, “There is simply no way to properly express to Ed Paulk my deep appreciation for his many years of outstanding service to the people ofAlabama. Ed possess a rare combination of vision, fairness, and a deep understanding of the law and regulations of his office -- crucial qualities for an effective manager.”
Under Marshal Paulk’s leadership, the State Fire Marshal’s office conducted more than 8,200 fire and explosion investigations across the State of Alabama resulting in more than 2,000 arrests for crimes ranging from arson and capital murder to drug related offenses and fire code violations. The State FireMarshal’s office also significantly increased public education efforts culminating in the most recent “Turn Your Attention to Fire Prevention”campaign. Marshal Paulk is a respected across the nation as a professional in his field. Since 2014, he has served as the Vice President of the National Association of State Fire Marshals. In February 2000, Paulk was named the National Law Enforcement Officer of the Month by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office conducts inspections of buildings and properties to ensure the building are safe for occupancy for their intended use, and provides for adequate exits in the event of fire, disaster or other emergencies. The office also significantly increased the rate of fire inspections under Marshal Paulk’s tenure, as much as eight (8) percent in the last year alone. Under Marshal Paulk’s tenure, the Insurance Department also launched the Insurance Fraud Unit which investigates reports of insurance fraud brought to it by the public and the insurance industry.
During his career, Marshal Paulk has worked on numerous high profile cases including the New Woman All Women Abortion Clinic bombing in Birmingham, AL. Marshal Paulkhas successfully worked several targeted property cases where arsonists were caught, at the scene, when they arrived to burn buildings for insurance.
His abilities working cold cases were demonstrated in Montgomery County several years ago when he successfully identified the arsonist and property owner who hired the arsonist in a twelve year old arson case. The arsonist testified against the property owner who wasconvicted.
In 1993, then Deputy Marshal Paulk and asecond deputy received the Silver Star Award from the National Association of Chief’s of Police and the American Police Hall of Fame. Both deputy marshals were involved in a close proximity gunfight with two escaped bank robbers after they stopped to assiststranded motorists on I-65 at Greenville.Ridling said, “Ed is a seasoned investigator and law enforcement officer with a passion for public service. Because of that, the people of Alabama are safer because Ed Paulk has been the State Fire Marshal.”
Established in 1909, the State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Alabama Department of Insurance. It’s mission is to provide inspection services, conduct investigations of fires and explosions, insurance fraud, prevent the commission of arson and related crimes, protect lives and property from fire and explosions, and provide visitors and citizens of the state a safe environment in which to live, work and play.