Yarbrough has worked for the city for 24 years and is a Georgia EMT-I. He has worked in the fire prevention division since 1997 as a fire inspector and arson investigator and as fire marshal for the last six years.
"Jerome was well-qualified," Canada said Thursday. "He has a very broad-based knowledge of the Gainesville Fire Department and fire service. ... I’m really confident in his ability in doing the job."
Yarbrough, a Gainesville native, said he looked to join the fire department when he first returned to Gainesville from his service with the U.S. Army.
After serving three years with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Yarbrough was hired by the Gainesville Fire Department in the 1980s.
"I guess since I got out of high school I’ve been in a uniform," Yarbrough said.
Acquiring an administrative position has been Yarbrough’s goal since he first became a firefighter, he said.
"It’s a goal that I set ... when I joined the fire department to rise to one day be a part of the administration that runs it, to give back to the community that I grew up in that I feel has done a lot for me," Yarbrough said.
As second in command, Yarbrough will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the department and will supervise the fire marshal’s office, he said.
Until the city hires his replacement, Yarbrough will double as the deputy chief and the fire marshal.
Canada would not say when a new fire marshal might be named.
Yarbrough said he looks forward to the opportunity to help steer the department in the right direction, and says that even after 24 years of service he looks forward to many more with the city.
"I feel like I’m still young and capable enough to drive on," Yarbrough said. "... I’m still having fun and enjoying what I’m doing, so I haven’t made (a) retirement plan."