Fire chief stepping down
Fire Chief Rickey Joe Smith is accustomed to responding to calls at all hours of the night. But, after Nov. 1, those late-night rings will come from stranded motorists needing a tow instead of emergency calls to respond to a fire.
Smith is retiring from his post Nov. 1. After that, he is going into the wrecker business.
"Someone asked me if it would bother me to get calls at all hours," he said. "I told them I was used to it."
Smith's departure leaves a big task for the newly elected city council, which must quickly find a replacement. The council had considered appointing an interim chief but decided against that when its candidate, Capt. Johnny Norwood, said he would be interested in the position on a permanent basis.
Council President Kenny Thompson said appointing Norwood interim chief could give him an unfair advantage over other candidates.
Hartselle requires its police chief to be a captain in a fire department and have a level one emergency medical certification or hold a two-year fire science degree. Norwood is the only current employee with those qualifications.