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Rural fire districts appoints interim chief

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POLSON — After a last-ditch effort to keep the Polson Fire Department and the Polson Rural Fire District as one organization, the Rural board held a special meeting on Sept. 23 and voted to recognize the interlocal agreement is no longer in effect and move on. 

Chair R. Jack Clapp announced that Rural Fire Chief John Fairchild submitted his resignation as of Sept. 30. 

Clapp said the board had asked Fairchild, in the interest of the Rural district and its leadership, to continue as chief throughout the fire season.

“The Board can’t thank him enough,” Clapp said, since Fairchild has served the City of Polson and the Rural District for 28 years.   

Fairchild received a standing ovation from the crowd at the meeting.

Board member Fred Nelson introduced the interim Rural Fire Chief, Paul Laisy. 

“This gentleman’s qualifications are without question,” Nelson said, since Laisy has 30-plus year of experience and worked his way up from firefighter to chief of the Missoula Rural. 

Laisy will guide the department until a three-quarter time chief can be found.

“I’d like for us to not delay finding a permanent chief,” Clapp said, inviting the audience to provide input and come to the Oct. 7 meeting to draft a search description and start putting it out.  

Clapp introduced six new firefighters who joined the force: Shondra Thorsted, Wyatt Barr, Nick Burns, Jonathan Gray, Rob Herreid and Chris Moldenhauer.

Firefighter Grant Clapp reported that the Rural’s website,, is up and running. 

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