Thursday, December 12, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Dallas Fire Chief Bill Hahn marches in the 2012 Summerfest parade through downtown Dallas. Hahn began serving the city of Dallas as a volunteer in 1970.
August 27, 2013
DALLAS -- After serving for 42 years, Dallas Fire Chief Bill Hahn will retire in mid-December.
His official last day has not been determined, but the hope is Hahn will be able to work with his eventual replacement for a few weeks before leaving.
Hahn said a key part in his decision to retire is family.
"I have given probably the majority of my career to Dallas Fire and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and it's time to give some time to my wife -- who has been very supportive of my career -- and my three daughters and three grandchildren while I'm still capable of doing things," Hahn said. "As my wife puts it: I'm married to the fire department and she's my mistress."
Hahn joined the department in December 1970 as a volunteer firefighter. After 13 years as a volunteer, he was hired as the city's fire inspector. He served as the department's fire marshal and assistant chief until 2007, when Hahn was promoted to chief.
The city will begin its search for a new fire chief next week, when it will start advertising the position. Dallas' fire chief oversees the city's fire department, EMS ambulance service, and serves as the administrator for Southwest Polk Rural Fire Protection District.
With less than four months left before he retires, Hahn has one major issue he would like to at least begin the process of solving.
By March 2014, the department will no longer have access to its current training grounds off Monmouth Cutoff Road. The property was sold as part of last year's Weyerhaeuser mill site auction. The new owner is honoring the current contract, but asked the department to rent the property after the contract expires.
"Unfortunately, that is something that isn't in our budget," Hahn said.
He added the department has needed to upgrade its training facility -- which includes a wooden tower built in the 1980s -- for a long time. Most modern facilities are concrete or block structures suitable for use in training burns.
Hahn said he will meet with the Dallas City Council soon to discuss the need for a new training center.
With his days with the department winding down, Hahn said he believes he will miss the thrill of responding to calls for help -- as well as those who serve by his side.
"What really makes it enjoyable is the people," Hahn said. "I have an excellent staff and the volunteers are just outstanding. It takes a certain group of people to come down and respond and put the importance of the community ahead of their personal activities."