After years of growth and a year of research, the Troy Fire Protection district recently hired its first full time Fire Chief.
Chief Ed Collins joins the Troy Fire Protection District after 36 years working his way up the ranks in various fire departments, retiring as battalion chief from the Normal Fire Department. Collins started on July 13.
Darren Reeves, President of the Troy Fire Protection District Board said that after adding 7 full time paramedics to the staff instead of contracting out the service and with the growth of the population and businesses in the 64 square mile area they cover, they decided it was time to have a full time Chief in house.
Reeves said having a full time Fire Chief will make it easier to track changing requirements with the state, conduct reviews, and help the paramedics and bring camaraderie to the department so both sides can work together.
A selection committee was formed with Highland Fire Chief Brian Wilson, Retired Illinois State Police District 11 Commander Jerry Culp, District Administrator Kelly Huelsmann, and Troy Fire Protection District Trustees Joe Leah and Darren Reeves after looking at the requirements throughout Illinois of what a full time fire chief would look like.
The field was narrowed down to 15 qualified applicants from within the department and around the country who had their first interviews over Zoom before Retired Troy Fire Protection District Assistant Chief and Board Trustee conducted live practical interviews with the final three applicants. The final interview consisted of written responses to scenarios and writing press releases on incidents.
Reeves said Collins brings to the department and mutual aid departments a wealth of training opportunities. Collins has his Bachelor’s degree in Fire Science Management from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, is a Certified Fire Officer II, Certified Fire instructor Level III, is certified in areas of technical rescue (rope rescue, trench rescue, confined space rescue, and structural collapse rescue) and a subject matter expert in the Fire Officer Program.
Collins has also spent the last 15 years as an instructor with the Illinois Fire Rescue Institute providing fire fighter training throughout Illinois.
As far as goals for the future of the department, Collins said the department is “doing so many things right already and wants to keep those successes moving forward”.
Collins will be bringing with him to Troy his wife Tonia, who is involved in real estate and dog training, their three dogs, and a cat.