Thursday, April 22, 2021
Jeremy Likely has been selected as the new Deputy Fire Chief for the Tomah Fire Department. Herald photo by Nicole Vik.

Likely hired as Tomah Fire Department’s new Deputy Fire Chief

Jeremy Likely was recently named the first Deputy Fire Chief with the Tomah Fire Department. The 2005 Brookwood High School graduate is extremely passionate about public safety and is no stranger to hard work.

In September of 2020, the Tomah City Council approved creating a public safety director/fire chief position to oversee administration for both the fire department and the ambulance service. 

After Tomah Fire Chief Tim Adler was appointed to the position, the council also approved the creation of one full-time deputy ambulance chief position, which was given to Adam Robarge and one full-time deputy fire chief position.

 When the deputy fire chief position came available, Likely knew it would be a good fit for him as he had started his education in fire services a long time ago, but there were no full-time positions available in the area at that time and he chose to pursue a career in law enforcement instead.

“With this position, I had a lot of support internally to do it, which is always good,” he said.

Many people who know and work with Likely refer to him as the Swiss army knife of public safety as he has experience and knowledge in law enforcement, fire services and ambulance services. 

Likely, who is now 33, has been a volunteer firefighter for the department since he was 18. He began his career in the field of emergency services at age 16 when he joined the Norwalk Fire Department.

“I've basically dedicated my whole life to the public safety profession," he said.

Over the years, he has served as a Monroe County jailer for three years, a part-time officer for the Black River Falls and Hillsboro police departments, an EMT in Tomah for six years, an Oakdale first responder, a forestry technician rider for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and he has been on the ski patrol at Bruce Mound Ski Area. 

Likely most recently served as a drug enforcement officer for the Ho Chunk Nation, the Wilton Police Chief and the Wilton Ambulance Service Director and he said in today’s political environment, he is happy to be taking a small step away from law enforcement. 

“I had a really cool job working as a drug detective for the Ho Chunk Nation throughout the state. I worked a lot with the Sauk County drug task force, and they are phenomenal people to work with,” Likely said. “It was tough to leave just because I’ve been doing it for almost two years, and I was finally getting the niche of it.”

For the foreseeable future, Likely plans to stay on in his position as the Wilton police chief and ambulance director. “I’m going to try it out for a few months to see how it goes, but this job has got to be my main focus now because there are a lot of moving parts with this position,” he said, adding he’s always been a master juggler. “At a minimum, I’ve always worked at least two jobs at a time. I don’t want to give it up, I have a lot of great relationships there within the community.” 

Likely started in his new capacity on March 22 and in his first week he responded to eight calls; half of which were after hours. As the deputy fire chief, Likely will respond to calls and oversee the day to day operations of the department. 

He will also assist Adler in managing the operation of the department and its nearly 40 firefighters. 

“I’m going to try to take as much as I can off Adler’s plate because he’s got a lot going on,” Likely said, adding that he is looking forward to the department’s 150-year celebration, which is slated to take place later this summer as well as the construction of a new facility, which will house the fire department and the ambulance service.

Likely plans to stay on with the department for the long-haul. He currently resides in Tomah with his wife Natalie, who works as the Monroe County Deputy Treasurer.

“I’ve gotten a lot of good experience doing different things, but hopefully I’m done jumping around for a while,” he said with a smirk. “I’ve been lucky that I’ve had some pretty fun jobs that I’ve enjoyed. When I come home, I never really feel like I’ve been working because I enjoyed what I did all day long.”

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