Fire chief hired

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Cedarville city officials announced a new fire chief and the resignation of their police chief during the council meeting Monday night.

Greg Preston with the Arkansas Forestry Commission will serve as fire chief for the new city fire department, said Cedarville Mayor Glenanna O’Mara.

Preston, formerly fire chief for Crawford County Volunteer Fire Department District 4, volunteered his services to the city to help with the establishment of the new department, O’Mara said.

“He’s familiar with the people here and the equipment we need,” she said.

Cedarville is in the process of gathering personnel and searching out equipment and funding for the new department, O’Mara said.

City officials had hoped to have their paperwork in order to officially begin the new department Jan 1, but is now “stepping up” the date after District 4 released a public notice that fire protection will not be provided to Cedarville residents after dues are up Aug. 30.

District 4 Fire Chief Andy Jones said the fire department will continue to operate under the county’s mutual aid agreement, but that with the loss of dues from Cedarville residents the department will have to “downsize.”

Under the mutual aid agreement, district fire departments and neighboring cities assist each other during a localized fire, but costs for the assistance are charged to either the homeowner or insurance company.

According to the notice, the standard rate set by the Crawford County Fire Chief’s Association is $250 per hour per truck, with a $500 minimum for each response within city limits.

“We’re not cold-turkeying it because we do care about the City of Cedarville and I do care about those that live just outside the city limits,” Jones said, referring to two small sections in the southeast section of District 4 that will become islands once Cedarville begins fire service.

While the decision of who will provide service to these two areas on the northeast and southwest edges of Cedarville is up to county officials, O’Mara said they will not be left without fire service.

“We will come up with the best solution for these people,” O’Mara said, adding that it may mean including the areas in those serviced by the city fire department.

City officials for Cedarville are hoping to have everything in order for the new department by Aug. 30, O’Mara said, but outside of that they will have it ready “as quickly as we can.”

Also at the Monday meeting, city officials accepted the resignation of Police Chief David Goss. Goss had neck surgery in April, but said he has not been healing as quickly as he expected.

“I think it’s just time for me to slow down,” Goss said outside of the meeting.

Alderman Vince Connelly publicly thanked Goss after the announcement was made.

“I appreciate all the hard work you’ve done for the city,” Connelly said.

Goss is “loved” by the people of Cedarville, O’Mara said, and added that his resignation was accepted with “deep regrets.”

City officials will soon be advertising for a new chief, O’Mara said. To apply, contact O’Mara at (479)353-1403.

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