A former captain at Stockton Fire Department has joined the Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District as a new Battalion Chief, replacing Chris Johnson, who retired earlier this year.
Dan Morriss is the new arrival, starting on the job on Aug. 1.
“For this process we had 41 applicants, we narrowed that down to 12 who were invited to the assessment center,” explained Escalon Fire Chief Rick Mello.
There were seven that passed successfully through that process and qualified for the second round of interviews.
Morriss, who retired from Stockton to take on the new position here, was glad to be settling in to his new location.
“I was born in L.A., raised in Crockett and when I started, you could be a volunteer firefighter at 16,” Morriss said.
He noted that he was also working at a grocery store in his teens but, every time a fire truck would go by, he would stop whatever task he was doing in the store to watch.
One day a customer suggested he pursue firefighting, since it obviously interested him more than the grocery business.
He went to the Columbia firefighting academy and also served with CalFire and Tuolumne County Ambulance. He has been in Stockton since 1993, working his way up throughout the ranks from firefighter to engineer and then making captain in 2002.
“I retired from there to come here,” Morriss said. “I was eligible to retire over there because I have the age.”
But, he added, he doesn’t yet have the desire to fully retire, and Escalon fit into his plans.
“It’s very reminiscent of where I started,” he said of the community size. “I want to offer my experience, feel like I have come full circle.”
Now a resident of Ripon, the commute will be short and Morriss said he spent the first few days getting acclimated to the community of Escalon and meeting local residents and business owners.
He will serve as Battalion Chief on A shift with Moe Silva as the firefighter/engineer on that shift.
“He’ll be in charge of our operations division, doing vehicle and equipment maintenance, the personal protective equipment, hose maintenance, stations and grounds, hydrant maintenance,” Mello said of Morriss.
The search for the new battalion chief was conducted with assistance from Donnoe and Associates of Sacramento, and Mello said there are several scenarios that play out for the candidates to go through as part of the process. There was also an interview panel with fire chiefs from Manteca and Lodi and a division chief from Tracy that helped with the selection.
“The guys have been great,” Morriss said of meeting many of the fire department personnel. “I’m looking for a smooth transition.”