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Battalion Chief Search Continues For Escalon Fire

Following the recent retirement of Battalion Chief Chris Johnson, the Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District is on the hunt for his replacement.

Fire Chief Rick Mello said the process has been underway for a while, with a goal of having the new staff member on board by the end of July or early August.

Johnson, who came out of retirement from Livermore-Pleasanton to take on the Escalon role, served here about six years.

“He is just now completely retired,” said Mello.

Johnson was one of three Battalion Chiefs for the Escalon Fire Department, working the A shift with firefighter Moe Silva. Remaining on the job are B shift Battalion Chief Terry Pinheiro with firefighter Cassidy Bohannon and C shift Battalion Chief Joe Pelot with firefighter Ryan Burr.

In the interim, the A shift slot has been filled by Pinheiro and Pelot working overtime and the department’s firefighter/engineers have been taking on some additional supervisory duties. Reserves and volunteers supplement the staffing as well.

“We used a company, Donnoe and Associates out of Sacramento, that we used previously in 2012,” Mello said of the search process. “We started that in April and had about a month long recruitment process.”

It was a nationwide recruitment, the chief added.

“We ended up with 29 final applications that were completed; originally there were 40 that either started or took the steps to start the application process,” Mello explained. “From the 29 that met the qualifications, a field of 12 was invited. Then we invited back seven for the second round of interviews.”

Johnson’s final day on the job was April 28, so the department has been juggling personnel for nearly two months while the recruitment, interviews and now background check is being done.

“We’re doing what we do,” Mello said. “A lot with a little.”