Fire department has a new chief

Rustin Wagstaff is excited to carry on the legacy of the former fire chiefs. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

After serving with the Evanston Fire Department (EFD) for 29 years, Rustin Wagstaff has been selected to head the department as fire chief; upon longtime chief Don Bodine moving to the position of Chief of Emergency Medical Services.

Born and raised in Evanston, Wagstaff grew up on his family ranch just 10 miles south of the city, where he still resides. After graduation from Evanston High School in 1991, he attended the American Tech Center in Utah where he trained in auto mechanics.

Wagstaff was employed as a mechanic with EFD in February 1994 when Jon Lunsford was chief.  In 1995, Wagstaff received training as an EMT (emergency medical technician) and that same year Don Bodine was made chief.

There are four paid positions at the EFD, the fire chief being one of them. Eric Quinney is the chief administrator over the fire district, Tim Overy serves as fire investigator/inspector and currently the department is looking for a fireman mechanic to replace Wagstaff. 

Wagstaff said they usually have 45 volunteers and his goal is to recruit more men and women. Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old. The department holds a training for volunteers every Wednesday night and Wagstaff said he plans to keep updating the training. Wagstaff said the diversity of volunteers with different backgrounds really adds positively to providing different insight, skills and experience to situations.

In order to gain interest from the public and to provide safety information, the department holds an open house annually. Wagstaff said he also plans to work with the school district to provide safety information.

He said the sheriff’s department’s dispatch receives all emergency calls and alerts the fire department when their services are required.  Wagstaff said the fire department has a working agreement to assist in Summit County, Utah, if the location of a situation is closer to Uinta County — usually up to mile post 185.

The responsibilities of the fire chief, Wagstaff said, are record keeping and reporting on fires as well as working with volunteers to give them adequate training. Coordinating with other agencies, such as the sheriff’s department and police department, is an important part of his job, Wagstaff said.

“I’ve only been on the job one week,” Wagstaff told the Herald. “I don’t know everything about the chief’s job yet; I’m still learning.  I’ve always been the guy in the backroom working on vehicles. I am excited to carry on the legacy of the past fire chiefs of the department.”

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