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Change at the top

Alan Hull steps down, allowing Bob Morrisey to serve Estacada as fire chief


by: STAFF PHOTO BY JIM HART - Formerly deputy chief and division chief, Bob Morrisey has stepped into the role of Estacada fire chief. Although he has served as chief for the past month of transition, the new chiefÄôs position technically begins next Monday when Fire Chief Alan Hull's retirement begins.It's not like Bob Morrisey has spent his entire life at the Estacada Fire Station - even though it must seem that way.

As a teenager, Morrisey volunteered as a firefighter in 1980, calling the fire station home during his entire senior year of high school.

During the daytime, he was at school finishing his studies before graduation, and at nighttime he slept in the fire station and responded to calls of fires or medical distress with a couple of other volunteers.

Over the years, the now 40-something mainstay in the fire district has worked through the ranks, serving as fire marshal and in recent years as operations division chief as well as deputy fire chief during the spring.

On Monday, Morrisey is taking the final step to the top of the ladder. That's when he will officially become Estacada's new fire chief.

While he was a volunteer, he pursued a career as a truck driver, but his loyalty was always to the fire service - to helping people in distress.

Persistence paid off, and he was hired as a career firefighter engineer in 1995.

"I was the guy on the hose line or driving the fire engine," he said. "When I was young, my dad was a volunteer firefighter and a truck driver, and this is where I learned my other trade."

Morrisey really followed in his father's footsteps, but took it a step farther to make it a professional career.

The new chief points to the camaraderie that firefighters share as what keeps him returning to work.

"I thrive on teamwork, and I love being part of a team that is helping the community," he said. "It feels good to go out and help somebody in a time of their need - being the person to help when someone's having a bad day."

As a team leader, Morrisey says he wants to help his team create a unified effort to serve the public.

"I'd like to consider myself the glue that tries to hold the team together," he said, "and build cohesiveness between all staff members - volunteers and career."

He said he has wanted to be a fire chief for a long time, continually accepting more responsibility over the past three decades while reaching decisions that affect the lives and safety of his coworkers.

Even though he does not waver from that role, he is not so proud he won't step down temporarily to assume another task that is not covered.

"As a fire chief, deputy chief, or division chief," he said, "you sometimes have to get back on the fire engine, put an air pack on and go in and fight fires. In a small rural department like this, you get to work in all different roles."

Estacada isn't that small, however, because the community and the surrounding rural area are served by 11 career personnel and about 40 volunteers.

As fire chief, Morrisey says he will emphasize community involvement by all of his staff.

He also wants to build a department with adequate checks and balances that, in his words, "is fiscally transparent."

He also wants to hear from as many local residents as possible, and will be conducting a survey as well as visiting with local groups and attending public events.

For more information, call Morrisey at 503-630-7703 or visit estacadafire.org or the station, 445 S.E. Currin St.



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  • 20 Sep 2014

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  • 21 Sep 2014

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