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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Patterson Fire Department announces new interim Fire chief, Steve Hall

Department veteran tapped as interim fire chief
Another seasoned leader will assume the Patterson Fire Department’s top management role after Chief Bill Kinnear retires at the end of the month. Longtime fire marshal and division chief, Steve Hall, is set to take over as an interim replacement.

Hall was tapped for the role after a recommendation from the West Stanislaus Fire Protection District board and interim City Manager Jim Reese on Nov. 9. Kinnear, who announced his plans to retire in October, will serve his last day Nov. 30, and Hall will officially take over Dec.1.

A permanent replacement for the fire chief’s job will most likely be named after January, when a new city manager is hired, Mayor Becky Campo said. The person chosen as city manager will be instrumental in making the decision.

In the meantime, as interim chief, Hall said he aims to build on many of the strategies Kinnear started during his time, while implementing a few of his own.

“I’ve got a lot of new ideas for the department, but I’m not looking to change the world or anything,” Hall said. “This position will require me to really sit down and look at the budget and any alternative methods of funding.

“I will also need to come up with creative ways of doing business to keep the department running strong.”

Campo said this week she was pleased with Reese’s choice to promote Hall to the temporary position.

“He’s been around the department long enough to know the inner workings of the department and has built a strong rapport with the firefighters and community,” she said. “It is really critical to have a good person in that position right now, as we are considering budget cuts, and we will need someone to help carry the department through.”

During his 20 years with the Patterson Fire Department, 47-year-old Hall has worked his way up the ranks from volunteer firefighter to lieutenant; to an investigator with the city and West Stanislaus Fire Protection District, which oversees fire services in the West Side’s unincorporated areas; and finally to division chief and fire marshal.

Hall received his certifications as a fire officer and chief fire officer through the California State Fire Marshal’s Office. He also holds an associate’s degree in fire science from Modesto Junior College and a bachelor’s degree in occupational studies from California State University, Long Beach.

Currently he is in the process of finishing up a master’s degree in executive fire leadership, with an emphasis in emergency management, from Grand Canyon University of Arizona.

The departing Kinnear said he is confident the city will be left in good hands.

“Steve has recently finished up his chief officer certifications and completed a lot of the education requirements he will need to do a good job,” he said. “Most importantly, he has a great ability to deal with both the public and volunteers, and excellent experience and operational skills.”

Asked if there was any advice that Hall could use from his years of heading up the department, Kinnear said:

“The one thing I always tried to remember was not to forget who is responsible for paying your salary — and that’s your constituents,” he said. “Once you consider what will help not just the department and yourself, but also the people you serve, it makes the decisions pretty clear-cut.”

Hall has said he is interested in being considered for the permanent position.

Read more: Patterson Irrigator - Link
Article and Photo credit: by Kendall Septon | Patterson Irrigator  

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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