County commissioners unanimously named a new county fire chief Monday morning.
Kevin Yates, chief of the New Llano, La., Fire Department was picked from a large number of applicants and will assume his duties about the first of August, according to County Judge Chris Brown.
“We had about 16 very good applicants,” Brown said. “What really led us to a decision was that Kevin Yates has basically built a department our size. Where he is now, he took it from strictly volunteer to a group of six fulltime firefighters and several parttime, in combination with volunteers, and two stations.”
Brown said the county was excited to have Yates coming in as fire chief.
“It's going to be a fresh start, kind of a new set of eyes coming in from the outside on the fire departments,” Brown said. “So, it's going to give us a new take and a lot of new ideas.”
Yates will also assume the responsibilities of emergency management coordinator for the county.
“He has qualifications to move into the emergency management coordinator's position,” the judge said. “He has the personality and background to do that very well.”
Carl Nix, the current county fire chief and emergency management coordinator, has filled the positions on a parttime basis. Nix is a battalion chief with the Grapevine Fire Department and was not able to move into a fulltime position here.
“Chief Carl Nix will stay on, be working hand in hand while [Yates] gets acclimated to the position,” Judge Brown said. “Nix has done an outstanding job moving us to this point. Unfortunately, we need somebody in there fulltime and he [Nix] is just unable to do it. He understands what we're needing to do, but it's time to make the step and show another improvement and step in progress for this fire department.”
Shortly after being contacted by Brown immediately after the commissioners selected Yates, he posted a statement on his Facebook page saying he said he was looking “forward to the challenges that await me in Hopkins County Texas.”
“It is with great sadness and joy that I must let everyone know from friends to family to workmates that an offer has been extended to me for the position of Fire Chief for Hopkins County, Texas, and with a lot of thought and wrestling around with the offer, my wife and I have decided to accept the offer,” Yates posted.
Following this morning's commissioners court meeting, Judge Brown was meeting with county firefighters to inform them of the court's decision and give them details on when Yates will be on the job.
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