Pine Haven appoints new fire chief

 

November 19, 2020



Don Lancaster, chief of the Pine Haven Volunteer Fire Department, formally resigned from that position at last Tuesday’s meeting of the town council, citing health issues. The department held the election of department officers prior to meeting with the governing body and Preston Bryant was presented to the council as the new fire chief of Pine Haven.

Lancaster assured his listeners, “I will remain on board as assistant chief and help Preston with any kind of transition and bring him up to speed on any project.”

One of the projects that Lancaster hopes to see accomplished in the near future is the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOU) with the Moorcroft Volunteer Fire Department, which reads in part, “Pine Haven Volunteer Fire Department requests that the Moorcroft Fire Department provide mutual aid on all structure and wild land/urban interface fires within the town limits of Pine Haven. This mutual aid agreement will be an automatic response at time of notification.” This agreement will obligate both parties to automatically respond when a call comes in from either entity.


Lancaster explained the underlying reason for the request: “Moorcroft is 12 miles from Pine Haven and we get extra credit on our ISO forms if we have other engines within a 15 mile limit of Pine Haven that will be responding to our fires.” ISO is the office that determines insurance risk and how to manage said risk.

Before proceeding, Town Attorney Pat Carpenter advised contacting the town’s insurance with the question of possible rate increase due to traveling and working within the other municipality. Mayor John Cook noted that the department’s response to county wild land fires has not affected insurance costs, “We’ve responded to a number of them and haven’t had any problem.”

Current Assistant Chief Dave Hull told the council that they would like to see the MOU signed and enabled by December 15 and Cook agreed that the council would probably be able to approve a signed MOU at the December 8 meeting, “But a lot of that would depend on Moorcroft, too, because this is both or none.”

Hull, who had spoken to Moorcroft Fire Chief Rusty Williams before drafting the MOU, spoke candidly to the body: “Moorcroft has 41 active members, more specialized equipment… They don’t necessarily need our help nearly as much as we need theirs. I cannot ask them to provide something we are not willing to [provide in turn].”


Cook agreed and the council approved proceeding with the presentation of the MOU to Moorcroft for consideration. With the completion of this and a couple other undertakings, Lancaster stated his plan to be completely retired from all service by June 1 2021.

 
 

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