New fire chief settles in, looks ahead

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Farmville’s new fire chief is prepared for changes coming to the department in hopes of making life easier for loyal volunteers.

Daniel Clark took over as the town’s new fire chief on Sept. 12, continuing a career that started long before. He started as a volunteer firefighter when a friend from high school encouraged him to join. He fell in love with helping the community and served with the South Boston Volunteer Fire Department for a few years before being hired full-time at 18 years old. He spent 20 years with the department as both full-time and volunteer.

Clark had visited Farmville before and knew it was a similar area, not including the colleges, to South Boston. When he saw the job posting for the fire chief position, he knew that Farmville would be a great place to bring his family for this new opportunity.

“There are good things going on in Farmville,” said Clark. “I have two young kids and I felt like Farmville is a great opportunity with everything they have going on here.”

According to Clark, the residents in Farmville, as well as the fire department, have been very welcoming to him and his family.

HELPING THE DEPARTMENT GROW

While introducing Clark to the council during their Wednesday, Sept. 14 meeting, Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis said the new chief would be taking the lead in a new project.

“He will take on the responsibility of helping us become a combination fire department, instead of only a volunteer fire department,” Davis said. “We’ll still be strong in volunteers, but we will, over time, build a combination department.”

It’s something Davis had proposed months earlier. In the April Town Council meeting, Davis spoke up during budget talks and proposed for the fire department to eventually become fully paid, while still having some volunteer staff.

According to Clark, this will be a slow process over several years and will not take away from the volunteers. He plans for the paid positions to take on administrative roles, maintenance and day-to-day tasks in order to alleviate some of the extra work from the volunteers.

“By no means will we ever get rid of volunteers,” said Clark. “Volunteers have other commitments and it can be hard for people to have the time to volunteer. I want the paid people to help alleviate that.”

Clark looks forward to seeing the department continue to grow. The department has grown in volunteers in the past few months and with upcoming paid positions Clark is hoping to keep that momentum. He is impressed by the group of volunteers the department has that is highly trained and is looking forward to being able to lift some burdens off them in the future.

“This is a great group dedicating their time to serve their community,” said Clark.