August 04, 2010 Edition

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Haskins resigns as WRFD chief




Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge Fire Chief Alan Haskins has resigned as fire chief and has accepted a job as fire science director/instructor at Black River Technical College. Friday will be his last day as chief at the WRFD.

Haskins began working as a fireman for the fire department in 1993 and has headed the department as chief for the past three-and-a-half years.

Under his leadership the fire department has opened a new central station, purchased a 100-foot ladder truck, manned all three of the department's stations with help from second-year students at Black River Technical College's Fire Science Department and lowered the city's ISO rating to a Class 3.

He received most of his training at BRTC and the Arkansas Fire Academy. Since firemen are constantly training, he estimates that he has thousands of hours of training, including 80 hours of Haz-Mat Tech classes. He also received his associate's degree at BRTC.

"For the past 15 years Haskins has been a member of the fire science advisory committee and taught classes in an adjunct capacity for the program," said Angie Caldwell, vice-president for technical education. "He brings a real-world perspective to the program and we are excited to have him join our faculty on a full-time basis."

The fire science program is located in Walnut Ridge.

"My Dad was an assistant fire chief at Ash Flat, and I guess this really is what I have always wanted to do," said Haskins. "I started as a volunteer fireman there when I was 16 or 17."

"I love the fire service and feel I can better help this area as an instructor rather than serving as chief for one department," he added.

"By teaching and staying on at the Walnut Ridge Fire Department as a volunteer, I can continue to help this department and the city grow."

He said that he would like to thank the people of Walnut Ridge for the privilege of serving them in the fire department.

"I've said it before and I'll continue to say it - this department is no doubt one of the best in this state, if not the best," Haskins said.

"I've had the honor to serve with the best bunch of firefighters you can ask for. These guys aren't just friends, they are brothers. I look forward to serving with them as an instructor and as a volunteer firefighter for many years to come."

Mayor Michelle Rogers said that an interim chief would be named by Friday.

"I cannot say enough about the tremendous job that Alan has done as fire chief," Rogers said. "He has always gone above and beyond in his capacity as fire chief. One thing that I learned about Alan right away was that if he told you he would take care of something, it got done.

"Our recent ISO rating speaks volumes for our fire department under Alan's leadership. Working with him has been an honor and a privilege to me as mayor.

"He has been offered and has accepted a good opportunity for himself and his family, and I wish them all the best."

Haskins and his wife, Paula, live in Walnut Ridge and have two children, Corey, 22, who just got out of the Air Force and is a dispatcher for Medic One, and Baylee, 9.

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