Yarnell Fire District chief gives notice of resignation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

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Yarnell Fire District chief gives notice of resignation

YARNELL, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

Yarnell Fire District Chief Jim Koile has resigned.

The Daily Courier newspaper in Prescott says Koile gave his notice to board members during a special meeting Tuesday.

According to his resignation letter, Koile will stay on in an advisory role until Nov. 30.

Assistant Chief Ben Palm will take over Koile's duties on a temporary basis.

Koile's management methods were questioned after the June 30 wildfire that killed 19 members of a Prescott-based hotshot firefighter crew.

The Daily Courier reported this week that some community members were concerned after learning recently about Koile's manslaughter conviction in Maricopa County in 1974.

Koile was sentenced to five years of probation and 52 days of community service. The Daily Courier says a judge later granted Koile's request to dismiss the conviction.

Here is the letter the chief submitted to the board:

"It is with both sadness and pride that I submit this letter to you. I have worked very hard, as you know, to build a professional Fire Department in Yarnell upon being hired as your Chief in May, 2011. I am proud of the work I accomplished here, and I know that you recognize the value of my contributions to Yarnell Fire Department.

"Some of my major goals when I started with YFD were to improve professionalism, training, equipment, communication, personnel, and administration in order to provide protection to the community, a progressive team atmosphere, an organized auxiliary to raise funds for the Department, a working relationship with Peeples Valley Fire Department, and lower homeowner insurance rates. I believe I have successfully met these goals.

"For example:

  • The department is safer and professionally organized.
  • Policies and procedures are established.
  • The community can now be protected with Paramedics.
  • The ISO rating has improved which will allow homeowners to have lower fire insurance rates.
  • All fire officers and Reserves are Firefighter II and EMT qualified or higher.
  • There is finally an established relationship with neighboring fire departments, including Peeples Valley Fire Department.
  • The Department collaborates with, and receives support from outside organizations, such as Northern Arizona EMS, Arizona Department of Health & EMS, Yavapai Regional Medical Center, Yavapai County Emergency Management, Prescott Area Wildland Urban Interface, and various fire service organizations, thus keeping the Department collaborating for better ways to protect Yarnell.
  • Department personnel receive significantly more training than ever before with scheduled weekly instruction, as well as specialized and out of district training.

"It has been a privilege to represent YFD and to enjoy the excellent working relationship I have had with you. However, I recognize that the fire department and the community of Yarnell are now at a point where a younger fire chief with high energy and progressive ideas is required. I am proud to be leaving a department well prepared for this next step in development and improvement.

"I hereby resign as Yarnell Fire Department Chief, effective Nov. 30, 2013. I will be happy to provide whatever support and organizational memory to you and to Assistant Chief Ben Palm, to ensure Yarnell Fire Department can continue to grow and develop."

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved.  CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.

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