Office of the
State Fire Marshal

State Fire Marshals Past & Present

Walter J. LaRue (1953-1956)

Picture of Walter J. LaRue (1953-1956)

The Delaware State Fire Marshals Office was established on July 10, 1953. Walt LaRue was appointed the First State Fire Marshal by Governor Boggs on September 1, 1953. With a budget of $8,750 and 1½ positions, he had to constantly fight for funds and attempts to disband the office, he resigned in 1956 to pursue a career in New Castle County Government. He retired to Florida where he passed away in 1991.

William R. Favinger (1957-1974)

Picture of William R. Favinger (1957-1974)

Bob Favinger was appointed the second State Fire Marshal by Governor Boggs on September 1, 1957. He was the father of the first statewide fire code in 1959 and an advocate of fire safety. During his 17 year tenure, the office went from 1 full time person to a staff of 16 well trained and equipped professionals. He retired to Pot Nets with his wife Alberta in 1974, where he passed away in 1988.

J. Benjamin Roy, Jr. (1974-1991)

Picture of J. Benjamin Roy, Jr. (1974-1991)

Ben Roy was appointed as Delaware’s third State Fire Marshal on September 20, 1974 serving as the State Fire Marshal for 17 years. He began his 30 year career as Deputy State Fire Marshal in 1961 and was appointed Delaware’s first Fire Protection Engineer in 1971. Ben was active in the development of National Standards for fire safety. After retirement in 1991, Ben became a regional representative for NFPA. Sadly, Ben passed away in 2020.

Daniel R. Kiley (1991-2001)

Picture of Daniel R. Kiley (1991-2001)

Dan Kiley was sworn in as the fourth State Fire Marshal by Governor Castle on September 20, 1991. Dan began his 25 year career as a Deputy State Fire Marshal in 1969, was promoted to Northern Division Supervisor in 1976 and Chief Deputy in 1978. He supervises a staff of 45 with a budget of $3,000,000, with offices in each county. Sadly, Dan passed away in 2018.

Willard F. Preston, III (2001-2007)

Picture of Willard F. Preston, III (2001-2007)

The State Fire Prevention Commission has announced the appointment of Willard F. Preston, III as State Fire Marshal. Mr. Preston’s appointment was effective July 1, 2001. With his promotion to the position of State Fire Marshal, he becomes only the fifth individual to hold the position since the inception of the State Fire Marshal’s Office in the mid 1950’s. Mr. Preston resides with his wife Jo in North Wilmington.

Grover P. Ingle (2007 – October 31, 2023)

Picture of Grover P. Ingle (2007-Present)

Mr. Ingle came to the Office of the State Fire Marshal on August 27, 1990 as a Deputy State Fire Marshal I assigned to fire investigation and code enforcement disciplines in New Castle County. In 1996, he was promoted to Deputy State Fire Marshal III which entailed being responsible for the management and directing of the agency operations and staff in the New Castle County Division. These responsibilities were later extended to include one-half of the Kent County Operational area. On September 24, 2001, he was promoted to Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal. On September 9, 2005, he was promoted to Assistant State Fire Marshal, assuming the statewide responsibilities for Strategic Planning, Budget, Human Resources, and overseeing the Technical Service Division of the agency. Grover retired on October 31, 2023 and currently resides with his wife Pam in New Castle.

John W. Rudd (November 1, 2023 – Present)

Delaware State Fire Marshal, John W. Rudd

John W. Rudd began work at the Office of the State Fire Marshal in October 1996 as a Senior Fire Protection Specialist. In 2007, he was promoted to Assistant Chief of Technical Services, supervising the northern Plan Review and Inspections divisions of the agency.Mr. Rudd sits on numerous technical advisory committees as a subject matter expert on issues that deal with life safety, homeland security, and fire protection. In 2021 he was promoted to Chief of Technical Services, where he managed the fire protection and life safety division of the agency, as well as overseeing the fire protection vendor licensing program, quality assurance program (QAP), and code enforcement activities. Mr. Rudd holds an A.A.S. in Safety Management from Delaware Technical and Community College and a B.S. in Organizational Management from Wilmington University.

He is a life member of the Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Company of Newark, Delaware, where he held all fire officer ranks, culminating in proudly serving as Chief of the Department from 2012-2013.

Mr. Rudd was promoted to Delaware State Fire Marshal on November 1, 2023.

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