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The Poudre Fire Authority Board of Directors has named Fire Chief Derek Bergsten as the new fire chief.
A professional search firm conducted an extensive nationwide search after Fire Chief Tom DeMint announced his retirement late last year after over four decades of service as a first responder. Chief Bergsten has been the fire chief of the Rockford Illinois Fire Department since 2008 and is expected to begin his new position at The Poudre Fire Authority (PFA) on Monday, May 24.
A total of four finalists were chosen to visit the PFA jurisdiction two days in March. The finalist met on-the-line firefighters and civilian staff, toured the area, were interviewed by senior leadership and the PFA Board of Directors, and were introduced to the community through a virtual public forum.
“It was a busy couple of days for the department and the candidates, but we wanted people from all areas of PFA to be involved,” said PFA’s Director of Administrative Services, Ann Turnquist, who organized many of the logistics of the visit. “The Board also values community engagement and wanted to find a way to make that possible while respecting COVID-19 precautions,” Ann said.
Chief Bergsten started his firefighting career as a firefighter and EMT volunteer in 1989 in the City of Loves Park, Illinois. He was hired as a firefighter and EMT by the Rockford Illinois Fire Department in 1994 and climbed the leadership ranks.
Rockford has a population of nearly 147,000, and the fire department responded to 30,000 incidents in 2019. Chief Bergsten was named the 2020 Illinois Fire Chief of the Year by the Illinois Fire Chief Association for “significant, ongoing contributions in our profession,” according to the organization’s website.
Chief Bergsten is excited to join PFA and become a part of the community he will serve. He is making arrangements to relocate his family as well as prepare for the new role.
“I know Chief Bergsten to be a caring, compassionate, engaging, and listening leader,” wrote Chief DeMint. “I am excited to pass command to this recognized fire service leader who will help chart the course of the future of PFA,” Chief DeMint wrote.
For more information regarding Poudre Fire Authority, visit https://www.poudre-fire.org.