Landrum Area Fire and Rescue District names permanent chief

After considering a number of applications and rounds of interviews, the commissioners of the Landrum Area Fire and Rescue District appointed the District’s first full-time fire chief by voting to remove the “interim” label from Chief Warren Ashmore’s title and offering him the position.

By a 4-0 vote, with one commissioner recusing himself, as required by state law, due to a potential conflict of interest, in its Dec. 14 meeting the commission unanimously voted to offer Ashmore the job on a permanent basis.

Ashmore had been chief of the Landrum Fire Department before it was dissolved in June of this year when the General Assembly created the new special purpose district to cover the same area and expand emergency services. The commission named him as the district’s interim chief on Oct. 26, and after going through the application and interview process with other candidates, the commission offered him the job on Dec. 14.

“We had a number of extremely qualified candidates apply for the position, and they all understood the special nature of the community we serve,” according to Commission Chairwoman Pam Hilsman. “It was a great problem to have. They were excited about moving here and becoming involved in the area, but as we weighed all of the factors, Chief Ashmore was our choice. Not only does he understand the fire service as a professional and not only does he have a strong rapport with our firefighters, he also understands the direction this commission wants the department to move toward, and he has been instrumental in getting us to this point.”

The direction Hilsman refers to is the plan to transition from a volunteer-staffed Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. department to a full-time 24-hour, 365-day staffed department that includes emergency medical response services.

Ashmore will start his job as the district’s full-time chief on Jan. 25, just after celebrating 20 years with an area automotive manufacturer.

A Landrum native, Ashmore said he sees the opportunity as a way to give back to his hometown.

“For 20 years, I built cars. I’m proud of the work I’ve done, but serving as chief of this new department and creating a full-time paid organization with an expanded focus on fire protection and medical emergency response is a way to use my fire service skills and training to say, ‘Thank you,’ to everyone in the Landrum area who had a part in making me the kind of person that I am. As we keep building this department, we are really going to make a difference in people’s lives.”

 

-Submitted by W. Taft Matney, Jr.

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