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You’re not supposed to yell “fire!” in a crowded public space.
But if anyone had done so at Tuesday’s council meeting, nobody would have panicked. The room was packed with so many firefighters that no flame would have stood a chance.
Firemen from several communities turned out for a promotion ceremony for their Morristown brethren, including Chief Robert Flanagan and Deputy Chief Jon Prachthauser.
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“It’s my whole life. My grandfather was a firefighter. My father was a firefighter. I just love it. I love helping others,” said Chief Flanagan, who began as a volunteer in 1985 and joined the paid staff in 1992.
Deputy Chief Prachthauser took the oath of office surrounded by his wife and six children.
Both officials took the state Civil Service test for the chief’s post. Mayor Tim Dougherty said Bob Flanagan proved his management skills during a year-long stint as acting chief, and Jon Prachthauser’s firefighting acumen made him ideally suited to be the chief’s go-to person.
“I think it’s a perfect fit,” the Mayor said. “Both are in the roles that best serve the community. Those were my two choices, and both agree, and are very happy with the positions they’re in.
“Deputy Chief Prachthauser is a tactician who lives and breathes equipment and tactics. The Chief has to handle all aspects, and budgets. He’s got a great right-hand guy. It’s the right choice.”
Tuesday also saw William “Skip” Hopping elevated to fire marshal. Stuart Williamson was promoted to captain, and Omar White and Curtis Ott were sworn in as firefighters.
Morristown’s last fire chief was Gary Desjadon, who retired in June 2011. The chief’s position pays about $129,000, said town Administrator Michael Rogers.