Ceremony recognizes promotions, recent hiresThere’s a new chief in town, officially. Steve Panger was sworn in as chief of the Superior Fire Department Thursday during a program at the Government Center that included promotions and the addition of new firefighters to the department.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
There’s a new chief in town, officially. Steve Panger was sworn in as chief of the Superior Fire Department Thursday during a program at the Government Center that included promotions and the addition of new firefighters to the department.
“We are ready to go to work to provide the high quality of services that this community expects and deserves,” Panger said.
The new chief stressed the importance of a strong fire inspection program, improving the city’s Insurance Services Office rating and seeking ways to replace reduced shared revenue from the state.
He noted grants the department has secured, including a $944,000 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response grant that will increase staffing levels to 36 line firefighters into 2015, a level that hasn’t been seen in Superior for 17 years.
Panger pointed out the benefits of working with businesses in public-private partnerships. Graymont purchased rope rescue equipment for the department, which will not only reduce rescue time at the company’s limestone facility, but in other high elevation situations. And an investment from Enbridge was used to purchase medical equipment that saved the life of a choking victim one week after it was put into service, Panger said.
Superior firefighters respond to about 3,200 calls annually, conduct about 130 fire inspections monthly and take part in regular fire, emergency medical, rescue and hazmat training. Panger said the department will strive to work with businesses to solve problems, and asked for their help in addressing violations.
Former Mayor Dave Ross made a guest appearance. Ross, now Secretary of Department of Safety and Professional Services, recalled an incident in which police were pursuing a man with a gun on a roof. Police called on the fire department for a ladder to reach the man and Panger responded.
“Any guy that would bring a ladder to a gunfight absolutely has the kind of character to be one of the best fire chiefs that we’ll have here in the city of Superior,” Ross said.
Superior’s last two fire chiefs, Jim Rigstad and Tad Matheson, were on hand for the ceremony.
In addition to the chief, six new firefighters were sworn in — Tim Brisbin, Steve Miner, Greg Wilson, John Lundbrg, Ben Dvorak and Gary Winters. Two of them are new hires; the other four have recently completed their probationary periods, Panger said. Promotions were also recognized. Erik Sutton and Lindzi Campbell were promoted to captains and four members of the department, Jeff Baker, Andy Knutson, Tom LeSage and Mike Hoyt, were promoted to motor pump operators.
“We are all extremely proud to be Superior firefighters,” he said.