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New Pocatello fire chief plans for future

With the new year the gate city is getting some new leadership for its fire department. On Thursday Dave Gates started his job as Pocatello’s new fire chief.

Since the old chief left earlier this year, Gates has filled in as interim chief.

So, when he walked into the fire station for his first official day as the head of the fire department on Thursday, he said it wasn’t a big deal, just business as usual.

“Just working as we normally do, so it was really kind of just another day. Although this was kind of a big day, it was just another day,” Gates said.

For 18 years Gates has worked his way up through the ranks of the Pocatello Fire Department.

Mayor Brian Blad said it was a nationwide search for a fire chief, but in the end he said the best candidate was the same man who acted as incident commander for one of the city’s toughest challenges ever.

“He has successfully navigated our way through the Charlotte Fire, for example. He was very successful in that endeavor,” Blad said.

Gates said he’s got some big plans for the future of the fire department and things he feels need to be done to make local fire fighters ready for anything.

“We need more resources to cover that call volume and then still have the resources capable of fighting fire and being there for things like the Charlotte Fire,” Gates said.

He said the city has a real need to build a permanent training facility for fire crews.

“Training is our core. Other than our calls that we go on, that is obviously the most important thing. Training for those calls is the second most important thing we do. And that is being interrupted so often it is degrading our skills,” Gates said.

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