The big news from the release Wednesday of the city’s independent fire review was the new man standing beside Mayor Joe Riley. Well, it was still Chief Rusty Thomas, but his encouragement and excitement about the new changes to the department couldn’t be understated, as he tried to keep from pumping his fist and giving out a crazed scream.

Thomas and Riley led a meeting of firefighters working Wednesday morning before the press conference and will be holding two more meetings to discuss the changes with the entire department.

“I felt like our department took ownership of the fire department,” Thomas says. “It was the beginning of a new day for Rusty Thomas and the Charleston Fire Department.”

Of course, it’s going to need to be a new day for Rusty, with new command structures in the department that dilute his influence in hiring, training, equipment, and operations.