DINUBA – Many fire department personnel are changing roles this month as a new interim fire chief takes over and the department welcomes new firefighters as well as promotes current ones.
City Manager Luis Patlan announced his appointment of Capt. Greg Chastain as the interim fire chief at the Dinuba City Council meeting on Aug. 22. Chastain has worked with the Dinuba Fire Department since November 1998 and will be taking over the duties of Fire Chief Jordan Webster.
“Capt. Chastian will basically oversee operations while we open recruitment for a permanent replacement fire chief,” Patlan said. “He has a lot of experience with the Dinuba fire department and he’s highly capable, so therefore I appointed him to keep operations going.”
Webster served with Dinuba fire for 12 years and left to head up Selma’s fire department as its next fire chief. Patlan said that he’s looking to open up recruitment for Webster’s replacement in September and anticipates the process to take three to four months.
“I’m looking for someone who has experience within the fire service, preferably someone who has served in a leadership capacity whether as a fire chief, battalion chief or captain,” Patlan said. “Someone who understands how to supervise and run operations, and who has a background in overseeing emergency response services.”
Chastain said he hopes to be that person appointed as Dinuba’s next permanent fire chief.
“As an interim fire chief, you take over all the roles of the fire chief and it’s sort of a position to see if we’re a good fit with city management, and if we’re able to complete the tasks that are necessary,” Chastain said. “We’ll see what the city manager decides to do during that interim period.”
The city’s fire chief is an at-will employee chosen and appointed by the city manager. Patlan said the city will advertise for the position, screen applicants and set up an interview panel before he ultimately selects the person he feels “would best serve the department and the city.”
Dinuba’s fire department responds to an average of 15 calls per day and will continue to focus on serving residents, Chastain said. He said they work to ensure their equipment and people are ready to respond and that they have the proper training to meet the needs of the community.
From a more long-term standpoint, Chastain said the department is working on building and staffing its second fire station in the city.
After nearly 25 years working with the Dinuba Fire Department, Chastain said his favorite part continues to be the people of the department.
“I definitely get to work with some amazing folks, and they are talented as well as entertaining,” Chastain said. “It keeps it fun every day.”
The city also recognized fire department employees at the Aug. 22 council meeting, which was full of fire department staff and their families present for the swearing-in and badge-pinning ceremony.
Webster, still serving in his capacity as fire chief at the time of the council meeting, said that introducing new members is one of his favorite things to do at council meetings.
“Tonight is exciting,” Webster said. “We have six new members that are either promoting or new to our department, and that represents 22% of our department, which is a pretty significant impact.”
Current employees Jesse Garcia, Sabrina Scheer and Luis Vasquez were sworn in as firefighter-paramedics and new employees Timothy Schlegel and Crishten Leon were sworn in as firefighter-EMTs. The fire department also introduced new single-role paramedic Zachary Giovani.
Dinuba Mayor Maribel Reynosa thanked the families of the fire department employees “because without you, they probably wouldn’t have been here today doing this,” she said. Reynosa also thanked the department employees for “either choosing Dinuba or continuing to choose Dinuba.”
“You are very instrumental in our community, and as they all said, we’re going to make sure that you have what you need to keep you safe, as you keep us safe,” Reynosa said. “Go out there, be safe and do your job.”