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Grandview city fire chief resigns

GRANDVIEW - Grandview Fire Chief Charles Damron has submitted his resignation to the City of Grandview, which has kicked into gear a search for a new chief of the 30-volunteer fire department.

"We were very pleased with him. He's done a great job for the city," said Jim Sewell, city administrator.

"It's a hard decision," said Damron, who has accepted a firefighter's position with the Toppenish Fire Department.

"We've built a good department here. We have quality equipment. The guys here are just wonderful, but I've made a decision based on my family," said Damron. "I wanted to spend more time with my two small boys and my wife.

"The (Grandview) chief is on call pretty much every week day and night," said Damron, who rotated weekends with a paid captain and three volunteers, which limited weekend work to every fifth weekend. "The Toppenish firefighters work 24-hour shifts, but only nine days every 27 days," he said, explaining that he had to take those hours into consideration when making his decision to resign his Grandview post.

Damron has been with the Grandview Fire Department for 11 years, working as chief for the past five.

The City of Grandview, with a population of 8,705, has a fire department that includes the chief, a paid captain and 30 volunteer firefighters. The department is equipped with three pumpers, a ladder truck and an aid vehicle.

"The chief was very instrumental in acquiring a $141,000 grant in 2005 for all new breathing equipment and a $100,000 federal grant two years ago for a new pumper," said Sewell. "He's really worked to advance the department."

The search for a new chief will be conducted "in the Central Washington region", according to Sewell, who said the first advertisement will go out Dec. 11.

"We'll advertise over the next couple of weeks and hope to have someone on board as soon as possible," said Sewell, who said that a new chief's position could overlap with Damron's, if the city selects a chief before Damron leaves Jan. 1.

The city is asking for applicants who have at least five years experience as a senior fire department officer and one who is experienced in fire department administration, training and operations.

In addition, applicants will have an edge if they are versed in budget administration, fire code administration and enforcement, emergency medical services and experience, fire department supervision and leadership abilities. However, the advertisement notes, consideration will be given to applicants who have a combination of experience and education that enables them to perform the required duties.

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