RICHMOND — Lyle Bair was appointed the new chief of the Richmond Fire and Rescue Department recently, filling the vacancy left by former chief Bob Hugo.
City Councilman Brad Jensen said he and Councilwoman Terrie Wierenga received applications from several qualified candidates, but ultimately settled on Bair. The nomination was approved by the council Sept. 29 and Mayor Mike Hall expressed his appreciation to Bair and other volunteer firefighters.
“There’s no way we could pay you guys what you’re worth,” Hall said.
Bair has been a member of the volunteer crew for over five years, and said he hopes to pursue firefighting as a profession.
“It’s something I have always thought about doing,” Bair said, saying his father and one of his brothers have been volunteer firefighters in the past. Bair initially joined the crew after expressing interest to local firefighters and being encouraged to submit an application.
Bair is currently employed in town as an auto mechanic, and also works part time as a Cache County ambulance worker. Bair said while working in town he is able to leave work and respond to all emergencies, but will be unable to respond while doing county ambulance work.
Bair said the department is currently composed of 20 volunteers, and estimates half of the members share his goal of pursuing firefighting as a profession. However, Bair said the nature of a volunteer department, composed of many members currently employed full-time outside the city, makes fire fighting in Richmond a “respond at will” sort of thing. While a schedule is kept for volunteers to respond to emergency medical calls, the department often remains spread out.
Bair believes he is the right man to lead such a group, saying he brings the “ability to unify firefighters, and help them to work under the same cause.”
Bair said calls have not been as frequent this year, estimating the department receives a call about every week and a half.