It’s time to pass responsibilities on to new leadership in the Pierz Fire Department, as Fire Chief Brian Boser nears the end of his term limits.
Chosen and approved by the City Council, was Chris Young, who will take over as chief in mid-July.
Both Boser and Young started with the department 15 years ago. Boser took over as chief when Toby Egan ran for mayor. After finishing that partial term, he was appointed as chief for the next three three-year terms, the limit for a fire chief.
Young, who is currently the assistant fire chief, has also been the training officer with the department and is a certified first responder.
Boser’s full-time job is with the fire department at Camp Ripley. He has brought much of what he has learned in that training to the Pierz Fire Department. That training, Young said, has been indispensable to the department, which is 26 firefighters strong.
“He went above and beyond for us. The knowledge he brings from his full-time job is pretty valuable,” said Young.
The Pierz Fire Department is in “great shape,” Young said.
“We’ve had great leadership in the past and we’ve got an outstanding group right now, so actually, I feel very fortunate to be able to step into such a good organization and be the next leader,” Young said.
“I’ve had a great mentor with Brian, we got on the department at the same time, but he’s always been a mentor to me, “Young said. “To serve under him as assistant chief and kind of learn the ropes from him, I just feel very fortunate. It’s a good position to be able to step into.”
Young also feels fortunate to be to following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Chuck Fuhrman, and his uncle and godfather, Greg Fuhrman, who both served as fire chiefs in Pierz.
“It’s kind of special to me to be able to take over the family tradition,” he said.
Boser is very pleased with the choice made by the hiring committee, comprised of Fire Department members and officers and city and township representatives.
The process of hiring a new chief is a formal one, with firefighters submitting an application before being interviewed by the committee.
“We as a hiring committee sit down, make a decision and that decision I bring forward to City Council for approval,” Boser said.
“I could not be happier as an outgoing chief that somebody like Chris is taking over the helm,” Boser said. “He is more than capable. He’s got good vision and the fire department members respect Chris and his decision-making ability. The department will only go up and forward.”
The duties of the fire chief include managing the fire scene, public relations, the overall running of the fire department, personnel, finances, working with the budget and writing grants.
“Just making sure it’s a fine running organization,” Boser said.
The Fire Department recently learned it had been awarded one of the grants Boser, with the help of Widseth Smith Nolting, had applied for, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The $94,000 grant will be used to purchase 16 new SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatus) and 16 extra tanks. These will replace the department’s 14-year-old SCBAs. This equipment is used any time a firefighter is in a toxic atmosphere, Boser said, such as where there’s smoke, heat inside an actual structure fire, or in the salvage and overhaul process.
Boser said the new SCBAs cost $6,500 each, and will give the firefighters about 45 minutes of air, compared to the 20 minutes the old SCBAs offered.
“We can be in the atmosphere for a longer period of time without changing the bottle, which is a huge advantage in our ability to get our job done,” Boser said.
Egan, who is now retired from the department, said Boser has been a pro-active chief.
“He’s been really pro-training and pro-grants, has real good leadership and done an outstanding job for us,” Egan said.
He was on the committee who first hired Young as a firefighter.
“You won’t find a better-mannered or hardworking leader anywhere,” said Egan. “He is very conscientious and is just a good natural quiet, leader. He leads by example and he’s going to be a great asset for us,” Egan said.
Young will begin his duties as fire chief Thursday, July 13, when the Department has its regular meeting.
Also taking over a new position will be John Duschner, who will replace Jason Boser as captain of the department.
Young and his business partner Matt Seppelt co-own Premium Concrete in Pierz.
Young and his wife, Rachel, have four children: Joelle, 9; Laura, 8; Travis, 5; and Brady, 3.