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Central Fire District Fire Chief set to retire after 28 years of service

Central Fire District Fire Chief Carl Anderson is set to retire at the end of April. | Andrea Olson,
RIGBY — After 28 years of service, Central Fire District Fire Chief Carl Anderson will be retiring at the end of April.
Anderson will work his last day on April 30 and is ready to spend more time at home and vacationing with his wife, Jeanette.
“It took a little while to decide on a date,” he said. “You scratch your head and think, ‘Can I really handle retirement?’ My wife has kind of urged me to get the retirement done, and now that we are looking at it, it is exciting!”
Anderson’s career
Central Fire District is comprised of four stations spread throughout Jefferson County — including Rigby, Ririe, Menan and Lewisville. According to its website, Central Fire District has been serving people since the 1980s.
Anderson started his firefighting career when he was 40 years old and joined after his family did.
“My dad and my brother joined the district shortly after it was created. So they joined in ’83/’84. Shortly after that, my sister and then my wife and then me. So it’s been a family thing!” Anderson said.

Carl’s father. | Courtesy Carl Anderson

He wasn’t hired immediately because he was working retail and didn’t have the daytime hours that they were looking for.
“After my wife had been on for a year and a half or so, they finally took me on as a firefighter as well,” Anderson said. “Both of us have completed the EMS course so we were EMT firefighters.”
Anderson told there used to be a joke among firefighters at the Lewisville station.
“At our heyday, they used to jokingly call the Lewisville Fire Department, the ‘Anderson Fire Department.’ We had my dad, my brother, my brother’s son, my brother’s son-in-law and my sister. So there were five Anderson-related people at the Lewisville station, and then there was me and my wife here at the Rigby station,” he said.
His wife just retired three years ago as a firefighter/EMT. The two have one daughter, Lisa Owens, who is currently the office manager at the station in Rigby.

Carl’s family. | Courtesy Carl Anderson

The ranks
Throughout his career, Anderson has risen through the ranks before becoming fire chief.
“When I started with Central Fire in ’95 as a volunteer, I have gone through all the ranks. So firefighter, firefighter/EMT, station lieutenant, station captain, station battalion chief. In around 2013, the current chief was getting ready to retire, I put in an application for the position of assistant chief and I got hired as assistant chief,” he said.
Then in 2018, Anderson became fire chief. While looking back at the years, he is proud of the accomplishments at the station.
Proud moments
“After the Henry’s Creek fire, we received some accolades for our actions,” he said.
The Henry’s Creek Fire burned more than 50,000 acres near Idaho Falls. Over 260 personnel, along with engines, heavy equipment and aircraft helped to suppress the fire which took nearly two weeks to contain.
RELATED | Henry’s Creek Fire burns over 52,000 acres
Another accomplishment, Anderson said, is they added a basic transport ambulance to their services.
“When I started…we could help (people) but we had to wait for an ambulance before they could be transported and now we have transitioned to running ambulances ourselves,” Anderson said. “We are kind of proud of that and that we have progressed with the times.”
What he won’t forget
As for calls, he has some that he will never forget.
“We try not to say that we’ve seen everything. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you see something new,” he said.
One call happened in 2006 at Challenger Pallet and Supply Inc.
“We had all four stations (respond). We had help from Idaho Falls. We had help from Roberts, we had help from Madison. It was a huge fire,” he said. “We lost a lot of pallets. They lost a few buildings but we saved their office. We saved the brain of the organization.”
RELATED | Rigby company surprises Central Fire District 10 years after massive blaze
It was one of the largest fires Jefferson County had ever experienced. Crew members were at the scene for nearly 40 hours and it took some 200,000 gallons of water until the fire was extinguished.
Another call involved responding to one of their very own stations when a large fire broke out on the property in January.
“Our Ririe station fire … our tender bay. You know, you will never forget that,” Anderson said.
The fire destroyed contents inside of the auxiliary building, including a total of four fire vehicles. Investigators said an explosion occurred due to a leak in a natural gas pipe inside the building, which resulted in the fire.
RELATED | ‘It’s a pretty devastating loss.’ Here’s why part of the Ririe Fire Station went up in flames
Then, there have been numerous crashes to which he has responded to.
“We’ve had some fatalities incidences that you never, never forget,” he said.
Anderson has been on interesting calls too where he’s assisted Idaho Fish and Game including corralling moose and rescuing eagles.
“We’ve gone out, and we’ve rescued eagles from power poles that they’ve nested up with twine and got tied up,” he said.

Carl’s wife and granddaughter after a moose is captured. | Courtesy Carl Anderson

Service to the community
Outside of work, Anderson has been heavily involved in the community because he enjoys it.
“I have volunteered with the rodeo board, with the fair board. I am currently the Jefferson County Fair manager. I am currently on the Rigby Rodeo committee board. I spent 13 years as a high school rodeo advisor with Rigby High School,” Anderson said. “I am one of those crazy guys that likes to work with the community!”
Though he will no longer be the fire chief and will start his retirement on May 1, he says it’s “business as usual.”
“I’ve had a lot of people stop and congratulate me and say, ‘What are they going to do without me?’ I’m still in the area, I’m still around,” he added.

One of the fires in the past that Carl has responded to. | Courtesy Carl Anderson

He will be missed
Assistant Fire Chief Nic White told that Anderson will be missed.
“Working with Carl for the last five years as the Assistant Fire Chief and over the last 20 years as a volunteer, I’ve learned valuable lessons from him as a leader, and as a mentor, and as a friend,” White said. “And I know if we need advice, he’s just a phone call away.”
Mike Miller is a fire commissioner who has known Anderson for about 30 years. He said Anderson has been a good fire chief for everyone. He has been dedicated and reliable.
“It doesn’t matter what time of the day or night—Carl will wake up and get on the radio and respond to a call, and he’s very involved in the community,” Miller said. “We hate to see him go, but at the same time, we are happy that he’s put in a good career here.”
Anderson knows Central Fire District will be in good hands.
“We have put together a plan. We’ve got some great people alongside me. I have no doubt whatsoever that they can continue progressing with the plan. It’s just excitement. I am excited about it,” said Anderson.
So, who will take over for him? Anderson anticipates that White will step into his position. The Central Fire District Commissioners will vote on it in a meeting on Thursday, April 11.

The post Central Fire District Fire Chief set to retire after 28 years of service appeared first on East Idaho News.

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