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Kamloops has a new fire chief
After more than three decades moving up the ranks of the Edmonton Fire Rescue service, Kamloops' new fire chief admits a move to a new province isn't easy.
"That's tough," Dale McLean told KTW.
"I've been there [Edmonton] just shy of 34 years. It's been my life. I started as a young recruit firefighter in 1980 and worked up through the ranks. I've seen all the things a firefighter has to go through in their career, whether it's good stuff or not-so-good stuff."
On Friday, Sept. 27, the City of Kamloops announced McLean, Edmonton's deputy fire chief, will step into the top position at Kamloops Fire Rescue.
"Dale was a person that we went after ourselves," corporate services and community safety director Duckworth said.
"We contacted several key players in B.C. to give us names of people they have worked with in the past who would be considered to be a good fire chief, so we headhunted several people. We had many good people we were looking at and Dale just rose to the top. His experience was really second to none."
McLean became a firefighter at the end of what he describes as a "very short" football career — stints playing junior football in his hometown, at the University of Alberta and "a cup of coffee" with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos.
"If you come from a team type of background, if you've got physical activity in your blood and those type of things, it seems to be a natural draw to those type of people," he said.
From there, McLean worked his way up through the ranks, moving from lieutenant to captain to station captain before taking over the role of deputy chief four years ago.
Duckworth said McLean's background, which also includes 20 years as an executive of the International Association of Fire Fighters, will "garner a lot of support and respect" from KFR staff.
The hiring follows a lengthy search for a successor to former chief Neill Moroz, who retired abruptly in May.
While the city had at one point hoped to have a new chief in place by the end of August, Duckworth said trying to schedule interviews in the summer months proved challenging.
"The summer months, really June to August, probably added an extra three months onto an already long process," he said.
"It's not uncommon for a process like this to take at least three months, but this process took closer to six months."
Now that he's been hired, McLean will take over the post relatively quickly.
He is due to start at KFR on Oct. 21.
Once he's in the role, McLean said he wants to focus on team-building within the organization. He doesn't expect major differences between the Tournament Capital and the City of Champions.
"There's going to be, I would suggest, more similarities than differences," he said. "You're dealing with the ability to provide a service and yet be fiscally responsible to the taxpayer and making sure the service you provide is always valued and that you're always evaluating to improve."
While the search for a chief has concluded, there is still more hiring to do at KFR.
The deputy chief's slot is also vacant. Duckworth said a posting for that job should go up within two to three weeks.