One of Capital City Fire/Rescue’s top officers will at the end of the month take a new position as Palmer’s fire chief.
Assistant Chief Chad Cameron, a 25-year member of the department, will head north at the end of the month, taking over as fire chief for Palmer Fire and Rescue for the 29,000 residents of Palmer and the surrounding environs.
“I never planned on leaving Juneau, but the opportunity came up, and Palmer’s a great place, and I thought I would apply,” Cameron said in a phone interview. “Nov. 30 is my first day, but I’ve already kind of started a little.”
Coming from Northern Idaho, Cameron began his decades-long service with CCFR as a volunteer firefighter, living at the downtown station.
“He started as a volunteer here, lived here at the downtown fire station for a couple years,” said CCFR Chief Rich Etheridge in a phone interview. “He got hired on and got promoted to a captain position really early. He’s been in a leadership position for a long time.”
Cameron has taken point on many of CCFR’s modernization- and technology-oriented projects, including a new emergency alert system for the stations, a mapping system and an updated data and records management system, Etheridge said.
“Anything that’s got to do with computers and technology, he’s [Cameron’s] had his fingers in,” Etheridge said. “He’s one of those guys who if you give him an idea for a project, he just runs with it. He doesn’t stop till it gets done.”
Cameron was also pivotal in the department’s eye-catching new ambulances liveried in the style of Northwest Coast arts, Etheridge said.
“He [Cameron] came up with the general idea,” Etheridge said. “He worked with the community groups to get it done and get it delivered here.”
Cameron said he’s excited to get to Palmer and get started. His kids were initially apprehensive, Cameron said, but came around with the prospect of larger and more involved hockey leagues.
“I’m excited to meet some new people and work with other departments and see what we can do. It’ll be nice to be able to train with other departments,” Cameron said. “The family is ready. And they’re happy. My children were a little nervous and apprehensive but that was about a month ago. Now they said ‘Yep, let’s do it.’”
Cameron said he’s looking forward to the new job, but he’ll miss the community he and his wife, Sheila, were deeply involved in for decades.
“The family at CCFR; I’m going to miss them the most. I’m going to miss participating and running the Santa Run every Christmas. I’m also part of the Boy Scouts here. The troop and the troop family, I’m going to miss a lot,” Cameron said. “Part of me and my heart will always be in Juneau. But we’re looking forward to new adventures.”
Sam Russell is standing in as assistant chief until an applicant is chosen for the position, Etheridge said. He hopes to have the pivotal position filled by the beginning of December.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.