Dammeron Valley Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Chet Barnes announced at the monthly DVFSSD on February 9 that he will not renew his contract as DVFR’s Fire Chief. Citing his need to be home with family, Chief Barnes stated there is no specific timeline for his retirement from DVFR. He will work with the department’s executive leadership, including Deputy Fire Chief John Hennessey, and the DVFSSD Board to recruit his replacement and aid in the transition. The DVFSSD Board is working to establish and launch a recruitment effort to hire a professional and experienced Fire Chief to lead DVFR into the future.
Chief Barnes has done a remarkable job since assuming the role of DVFR Fire Chief in 2020. The department that teetered on the brink of remaining operational in 2020 has evolved into a professional fire and rescue organization under his leadership. DVFR Academy graduated multiple classes of firefighters and EMTs, many of them from neighboring fire departments. Thanks to Chief Barnes and his work with Deputy Chief John Hennessey, DVFR is now considered a regional training center by the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy. Several DVFR Academy graduates have been hired by other fire departments and are starting their professional careers in the fire service.
DVFR’s uniformed personnel responded to 243 calls for assistance in 2021, not missing a single call. The department brought in more revenue via Wildland MOUs, grants, and donations than at any time in its history. In a short time, Chief Barnes has become known and recognized by fire organizations throughout Utah for his accomplishments in Dammeron Valley. Most importantly, he will leave behind a legacy of professional, well-trained, and certified volunteers and staff who are committed to serving the community and each other.
Chief Barnes’s accomplishments did not come easily, but instead at significant personal sacrifice. He assumed leadership of a department with numerous deficiencies and strategic challenges, including those from parties outside of our community. The DVFSSD Administrative Control Board holds Chief Barnes in the highest regard as a man of commitment, integrity, and great skill. It is with heavy hearts that we, along with the community, will bid him farewell later this year. We are grateful for his service to Dammeron Valley and the local region, and are thankful for the amazing fire department he has organized.
As the District and DVFR move forward in 2022 with establishing patient transport and expanding on the Wildland and grant self-funding successes of 2021, we recognize that all of this was only made possible by the hard work and dedication of Chief Barnes, the truly incredible DVFR family of first responders, and the volunteers who work to support them.
Best wishes to Chief Barnes for his continued success!
Dammeron Valley Fire Special Service District Administrative Control Board