Ketchikan’s City Council last week , unanimously approved hiring a new fire chief. Rick Hines was offered the job. He has been a clinical manager for Guardian Flight in Ketchikan since 2018. Prior to that, he was an emergency medical service duty officer for the Indianapolis Fire Department for 12 years.

Former chief Abner Hoage retired last October.  Assistant Chief Scott Brainard has been acting chief since then. Hoage’s annual salary was about $135,000. Hines’ will be approximately $133,000.

Acting City Manager Lacey Simpson says though his work was heavily focused on medical calls, Hines had extensive fire department experience in Indiana. She says several fire chiefs were interviewed, but…

“They weren’t a good fit. They maybe didn’t know what they were getting into in terms of living in Ketchikan – understanding what this environment is all about. I had concerns with some of them being newly retired. Were they going to stick around? The committee ultimately decided that Rick Hines, while maybe not being a fire chief previously, was the best fit for this position and for the department.”

Simpson also says Hines was chosen because he has extensive experience training and developing people.

“He really excels at that. And that’s something that we’re going to need as people within the fire department retire, and we’re looking at recruiting and building up that workforce again.”

Hines is scheduled to take over as fire chief May 2.