Madison’s assistant fire chief is retiring after more than 30 years of service
REXBURG — After more than 30 years with the Madison Fire Department, Assistant Fire Chief David Davis is retiring.
Davis said it’s time to “move on to other endeavors.” His last day at the department will be April 3. But before taking on new adventures with his wife and hitting the road to travel and visit grandchildren, Davis reflected on how he got to where he is today.
It was during the Yellowstone Fires in 1988 when he was driving busses full of firefighters that he decided he wanted to be a first responder.
“We would take the firefighters from one location, mainly from camp, to where they needed to fight the fire,” Davis said. “And then we’d pick them up and bring them back to camp or wherever they needed to go.”
He had a friend who was driving busses at the same time as him, who also worked part-time at the Madison Fire Department. He encouraged Davis to apply.
In 1989, Davis began as a part-time volunteer for the Madison Fire Department, something he did for about five years.
“I had my own business at the time, so I could break away whenever they needed,” Davis said.
Davis accepted a full-time firefighting job in 1995. Roughly 10 years later, he was promoted to assistant fire chief.
Over the years, the Madison Fire Department has grown.
When the Utah native got on the Madison department, he said there were six full-time employees and about 40 volunteers. Today, there’s about 22 full-time firefighters and around 40 paid-call firefighters.
When Davis joined the department, it was managed by the city of Rexburg and Madison County Fire Protection District. Then in 2000, he said the department joined forces with Madison County Ambulance.
“We had to then cross-train. The ambulance had to learn fire and fire had to learn ambulance skills,” Davis said. “It was a benefit for the community.”
Not only has Davis been in the thick of the department’s development, but he’s seen things day in and day out that most people don’t have to.
Two major fires come to his mind when he looks back on his career — one that took six children’s lives and another that killed a family he knew.
“When we go out and are thinking we’re having the best day because we’re getting to practice our skills and training, it’s probably the worst day for someone else,” Davis said.
Although his career is winding down, the opportunity to serve the community and work with the Madison Fire Department is something he wouldn’t change.
“I never realized how much fun I would have. And probably the reason I have the fun on here is that we have good people to work with and a good community to back us up,” Davis said. “To anyone coming on or the ones coming up, enjoy it and find the good in it because there’s a lot of good.”
Davis said his position will be eliminated as the department has changed its structure, but one full-time person will be hired as people move up in the ranks.