Off to fight new fires in Colorado
Don Eberle is off to do it again. The chief of the fledgling Clarkdale Fire District has been hired to launch a new fire district in Cortez, Colo.
It is not new turf for Eberle. He already owns a home in the Southwestern Colorado town. His daughter and grandchildren live in the area.
"We go up there about once a month and around Christmas, they advertised for a paid fire chief and I threw my hat in the ring."
Eberle rose to the top of 22 applicants including two from the local area. Chairman of the Cortez Fire Board, Hal Shepard told the Cortez, Co. Journal that he has hired many people and Eberle had some of the best references he had ever seen.
Cortez has had a fire company for 120 years, but it has always been a municipal fully volunteer operation and never had a paid chief until Eberle.
Like Clarkdale, it recently converted from a municipal organization to an independent district to increase its revenue so the department could hire fire fighters.
While the former department embraced only the city population of 8,000, the new district also includes unincorporated area of 3,000 or more outside the town limits.
The district has three stations and 16 pieces of equipment.
The fire board is waiting for Eberle's arrival to design a new fire station.
The board intends the chief to hire a small full-time staff to work daylight hours while retaining a volunteer staff for off-hours and weekends.
Thursday night, the Clarkdale Fire Board accepted Eberle's resignation and appointed Captain Joe Moore to act as Interim Fire Chief while a selection process is conducted to fill the chief's position.
Formerly with the Cornville Page Springs Fire District and the Verde Valley Ambulance Company, Moore has been with the Clarkdale District since the early days of its formation.
Eberle had retired as Chief of the Verde Valley Fire District and moved to Colorado. 11 months later he emerged from retirement to become acting chief of the Clarkdale District after its creation.
In February 2007 he was named permanent chief.
The departing chief believes Clarkdale will do well. "Operationally and financially we are very solvent. We have a good board, a good staff, a good team. We have been very blessed."
Board Chairman Jim Elmer said, "We are very grateful for the service Chief Eberle has given us. We needed a chief with his experience and integrity to get us through the first year of operation and we were very fortunate to have found him.
"We will always remember Chief Eberle as our first Chief and the fine service he provided the community."
His last day is March 28.
Eberle has been the Chief for Clarkdale Fire District, Verde Valley Fire District, Cottonwood Fire Department, Sun Lakes Fire District, the Salinas Rural Fire Protection District in California and the city of Flagstaff.
He has been in fire service for 40 years, 25 years as a chief.