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Woodburn's new division chief brings 32 years of fire-fighting experience to the job

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Woodburn Fire Districts new Division Chief of Training and Operations Scott Heesacker, of Newberg, spent 28 years working for Portland Fire & Rescue.Scott Heesacker has been named as Woodburn Fire District's new Division Chief of Training and Operations, the district announced recently.

Heesacker fills the role following the retirement of former Division Chief Capt. Jay Hannon. The new division chief brings 32 years of fire-fighting experience, including 28 years with Portland Fire & Rescue where he retired as battalion chief in 2017. He actually began his career with WFD as a student intern while attending fire science school at Chemeketa Community College.

"Chief Heesacker brings a wealth of experience and ability that will greatly assist the district in meeting its mission to protect the lives and property of the citizens of Woodburn, Gervais and surrounding areas." WFD Chief Joe Budge said. "Heesacker will improve our ability to prepare for and manage major incidents while protecting the public and ensuring the safety of the firefighters and other first responders."

Budge said Heesacker's duties include overseeing the district's emergency response operations and the training and certification of the district's 12 career and 31 volunteer firefighters.

Heesacker will also help implement of the district's advanced life support program that aims to have an on-duty paramedic firefighter being every day, ensuring emergency room life-saving capability to medical emergencies.

Budge stressed that the local option levy passed last fall provided the district's enhanced medical response capability. The first stage of the paramedic staffing is expected to begin in November.

Heesacker will also serve as an incident commander in the management of fires, motor vehicle accidents, mass casualty events and hazardous material releases that require multiple fire apparatus and assistance from neighboring agencies to bring under control.

Originally from Forest Grove, Heesacker has called Newberg home since 1991. He said he's been enjoying retirement, but the opportunity to serve in Woodburn superseded that enjoyment.

"A big factor in bringing me back is I've worked with Chief Budge in Portland, and when he had a position opening here, my wheels started turning," Heesacker said.

He said he welcomes the homecoming part of it as he served his residency here in 1986. Moreover, the commute is much more pleasant that his previous one.

"It's a wonderful commute, driving through (scenic) farm territory to get to work, rather than going the other way into city traffic," he added.

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