ESTEVAN - Rick Davies, who is a long-time member of the Estevan Fire Rescue Service and has spent more than five years as the deputy fire chief, is the new fire chief for Estevan.
The announcement was made during the Aug. 22 meeting of Estevan city council.
In an interview with the Mercury, Davies said he always had an interest in becoming a firefighter, and becoming the fire chief after more than 21 years in the field, all in Estevan, felt good, even though it's never been his goal.
"I joined the fire department quite a few years ago. I really have enjoyed it. When the opportunity presented itself to be deputy chief, I took the chance. And here again, the opportunity presented itself to move up to chief, and it just felt like the right time to do the next step," Davies shared.
Davies grew up in a family with a great example of what firefighting is about, and he joined the field early in his adult life.
"Firefighting was something I was always interested in, even as a kid. My father [Clint] was a firefighter for years. So I had an interest from that aspect as well. And once I came of age, I was 19, and in discussion with my dad, he encouraged me to apply to be a paid on-call firefighter. I was accepted rather quickly. It was something new, something big, when you're young like that, but I caught the bug right away and just kept going with it," Davies recalled.
He said when the situation came about and the city started looking for a replacement for former fire chief Dale Feser, the "wheels started turning whether or not I would be interested in the position." And when the city management came forward with an offer to take the position of the Estevan fire chief, he was ready to go ahead and try it out.
Davies expects most things at the Estevan Fire Rescue Service to continue the way they were while he was a deputy chief.
"I'm not expecting a lot of huge changes on the day-to-day operation part of it," Davies said. "We've had a lot of good things established and ongoing here in the last few years, so I'd like to continue along with focusing on training for the firefighters … We're going to continue on doing everything that the fire department does and maybe put a little bit more emphasis on streamlining some things."
He assumes he will be involved in more meetings as a fire chief, but he is familiar with most of the job.
"Overall operational-wise with the fire department, I don't think it'll change much. It'll just be the aspect of the management side with the city and working with the provincial fire entity and a little closer with other fire chiefs in the area and stuff like that," Davies noted.
Mayor Roy Ludwig said Davies has proven himself to be a good deputy chief over the years.
The city did not have a job search before hiring Davies, although they did talk to Davies and other members of the department before offering him the job.
Most of the time in these circumstances, when the city has a very experienced person serving as deputy fire chief, they won’t look outside the organization for a new chief. In Davies’ case, he knew everyone and worked well with everybody, so it was logical that Davies would move up.
“He has the respect of everyone, which is very important,” said Ludwig.
If they were to bring someone in, that person might not fit in with the existing members.
Feser submitted his resignation as fire chief in early July after holding the role since January 2016. Davies was the acting fire chief after Feser’s departure.
Ludwig was impressed with Davies’ work as acting chief.
“Rick is very approachable, and he has a lot of experience, so it’s a good fit for us and we’ve very happy that he was willing to move up,” said the mayor.
A decision has not been made on who will replace Davies as the deputy fire chief.