TWIN FALLS — Twin Falls’ new fire chief is on the job.
Tim Soule took the oath of office Monday evening after the City Council voted unanimously to confirm his appointment. He succeeds Ron Clark, who retired this summer after 40 years with the department, 18 of them as chief.
“I think until you carry that fifth bugle it’s probably something you can’t imagine, and I’m starting to feel the weight of that at the moment,” Soule told the City Council after the vote, referring to the five bugles on a fire chief’s badge.
Soule has more than 25 years of fire and emergency medical service experience, and comes most recently from the East Fork Fire Protection District in Minden, Nev., where he was deputy chief. This department covered Douglas County, which Soule said has about the same population as Twin Falls but is much bigger geographically, and the department was responsible for fighting fires in numerous wildland/urban interface areas as well as some of the communities around Lake Tahoe.
“A real mix,” he said.
The city got 21 applications for the fire chief job, said City Manager Travis Rothweiler, which was narrowed down first to eight and then to three after a round of Skype interviews.
One of the finalists got another job during the hiring process and one was dropped from consideration due to a lawsuit against him, leaving Soule the last applicant. However, Rothweiler said Soule was also the only finalist whom the interviewers were unanimous about wanting to hear more from.
“Make no mistake, Tim is not a consolation prize for the city of Twin Falls,” Rothweiler said.
Soule said he was drawn to Twin Falls because it is a growing community and because he liked the city’s leadership and the “one city” concept, or the idea of managing the city in a way where the different departments all work together.
Rothweiler said Soule spent time with the firefighters on each shift before accepting the job, looking to make sure he was the right fit for the department as well.
“I think that’s just a testament (to) the person who is before you today,” Rothweiler said.