Interim fire chief named in Clinton after turmoil hits departmen - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Interim fire chief named in Clinton after turmoil hits department

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CLINTON (WKOW) -- The Clinton Fire District will have a new leader Wednesday after the department faced turmoil and dysfunction. But the new chief will actually be a double-chief, since he also holds that post in the Town of Beloit. 

Chief Gene Wright will soon have double the work to do. He'll lead the firefighters and EMTs at CFD for the next six months. 

"I've know them so I don't want to let them down. We talked about this thing and it started out kind of as a, 'Hey this is what I would do, you know.' We need somebody and it evolved into are you interested and I couldn't say no," Wright said. 

Tuesday's decision was made by leaders representing the Village of Clinton, Town of Clinton and Town of Bradford. It comes after turmoil between the fire department and the fire board after the district's previous fire chief resigned last year. 

"Chief John Rindfleisch was one who took the input from his people and they had a lot of say in how things were done. Where as, when the fire board
took over it was we're just going to do this," said Village of Clinton Administrator David Hooker. 

Many firefighters and EMTs felt left out and not properly represented. It forced between seven and eight staff members to leave the department, according to Hooker. 

"We're at the point where we can't lose anybody else and we're talking with the firefighters and the EMTs almost daily," noted Hooker. 

Hooker vows the problems haven't caused delays when answering emergencies, but he knows the issues must be fixed.

Now, the three boards hope Chief Wright can be the right solution.

"He'll come in, he'll evaluate the fire department, he'll be giving us recommendations about what's working, what's not, what we need to change.
But he's also going to be working with us help identify our next fire chief," said Hooker. 

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