After serving as interim fire chief with the Auxvasse Fire Department since November of 2009, Nicholas Kaufman will now serve as full fire chief for the department.
Auxvasse City Council members approved his appointment Tuesday at the council meeting. Alderman Terry Walker, who serves as a liaison between the council and the fire department, recommended the city appoint Kaufman as chief. Walker said having a chief gives a "sense of security" to the other firefighters on staff. He's acted as chief since Jeff Lindsey stepped down and moved out of state in 2009.
Mayor Kevin Phares said the fire department is strictly volunteer and the chief position is not paid. Kaufman also works full-time at the Callaway County Ambulance District and has been in the emergency services field for 15 years.
Kaufman, who lives in Auxvasse, has been on the fire department for about four years. When Lindsey was appointed as fire chief in November of 2008, Kaufman said he was brought on as assistant chief. He said prior to their appointment the department had been through a string of four or five fire chiefs in a matter of a couple years.
"We worked really hard and kind of got the department headed in the right direction," Kaufman said. "I think that's what the city council wanted at that time."
He said he would like to ensure that the improvements continue and that the department has the "stability" that it needs.
Phares said he is happy with the department's performance. He said the fire calls the department responded to were handled quickly and satisfactorily.
"Nick's very good," Phares said. "He's very knowledgeable, and he works very hard."
Walker explained that the North Callaway Fire Department works together with Auxvasse and will respond to some of the same fires and even invite its firefighters to training days.
"We have a very good relationship with North Callaway," Phares added. "They help us out; we help them out."
Auxvasse staffs about 12 volunteer firefighters.
"We're always, always needing volunteers," Walker said.
Kaufman said the department responds to about 100-120 calls a year, mostly medical emergencies. The department obtained new fire and brush trucks in the fall of 2009. These are the "great strides" Kaufman said he'd like to see the department continue "to where it can provide the best service it can for the community."
"It is just a matter of community service for me," Kaufman said.
The new fire chief is a graduate of North Callaway High School and received his EMT license from Moberly Area Community College. He received his paramedic's license in November of 1998 from Hannibal-LaGrange University and has worked for the ambulance district since 1998.