Baltimore Hires Away Minneapolis' Fire Chief

Jim Clack, fire chief of the city of Minneapolis and the unified incident commander overseeing rescue operations after the I-35W bridge collapsed in that city on Aug. 1, 2007, is leaving to become Baltimore, Md.'s fire chief. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced Clack's departure yesterday; the Baltimore mayor, Sheila Dixon, will announce his hiring this morning, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Clack is a 22-year veteran of the Minneapolis Fire Department who became chief in February 2007 after having been interim chief since April 2006. "There is no doubt that Chief Clack has served our community well and that our city and fire department are better because of his service," Rybak said in a city news release. "Clack’s calm, collected leadership during the I-35W bridge collapse was one of the main reasons we were able to so effectively respond to one of the most serious disasters Minneapolis has ever known. We are sad to see him go and wish him the best in his new endeavors."

The release says Clack began his career as a firefighter with the Minneapolis department's hazmat team and later became a captain. He has served as assistant chief of Training, EMS officer, and deputy chief of Personnel. "It has been my honor to serve the people of Minneapolis as the city's fire chief and throughout my 22-year career in the department," Clack said in the release. "I take great pride in Minneapolis fire department, and in the professionalism, courage, and commitment to public service that each member of the department shows on the job every day. I will always consider Minneapolis my home, but this is a tremendous professional opportunity and something that I could not pass up. Taking this position also offers me the opportunity to serve as an instructor at the U.S. Fire Academy, which has been a lifelong goal."

The release said Rybak will announce the process for filling the chief's position soon.

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