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Provo fire chief to retire from department in August

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  • Provo fire chief to retire from department in August

    Provo fire chief to retire from department in August

    Provo City Fire Chief Blair Camp stands for a portrait at the Provo City Fire Department Tuesday, July 10, 2012. Camp is retiring after being with the Provo Fire Department for five years. MARK JOHNSTON/Daily Herald

    PROVO -- When Blair Camp began his career in 1979, he used to ride to fires on the tail boards of Murray's big red engines.

    A lot has changed for the man who became Provo's fire chief in 2007, but this week he announced the biggest change of all: he is retiring from public service. Camp's last day as the head of the city's fire department will be Aug. 18, after which he will go to work for Brigham Young University in a risk management position.

    Camp said Tuesday that his career in firefighting began when he recognized a desire to work in fire prevention.

    "I always had an interest in fire prevention and that kind of a thing," he recalled. "When I had the opportunity to get on with the fire department in Murray it seemed like a really great opportunity."

    Camp hadn't always dreamed of charging into burning buildings, but he enjoyed the job and stuck with it for the next five years. In addition to fighting fires, Camp also made medical calls and safety checks during his first years in Murray.

    The following years saw Camp fulfilling a variety of roles. In the 1980s, he was promoted to station captain, a position he held for 10 years. During that time, Camp supervised a group of firefighters and managed his station.

    Camp continued working his way up the proverbial fire ladder in 1994, when he made assistant chief and fire marshal, and in 1999, when he was appointed the fire chief in Murray. During Camp's time in Murray, the city had three stations and roughly 50 fire department employees.

    After five years as Murray's fire chief, Camp spent a couple of years as a fire marshal and specialist at the University of Utah Hospital, then made the jump to a bigger department when he was hired as Provo's fire chief. In Provo, Camp managed six fire stations and approximately 80 people.

    Camp's time in Provo has seen extraordinary fire activity. Most notably, he guided his department through the devastating Provo Tabernacle fire in December 2010. Camp said that he still sees people get teary-eyed when talking about the destruction of the historic LDS meetinghouse. Camp said the loss of the building was tragic for him as well.

    But he added that he was proud of the way his department handled the blaze. Camp also said his department has shown its exceptional worth in several other well-known fires, including a fatal blaze at The Boulders Apartments that resulted in two deaths and may have contributed to a third. Looking back at his time in Provo, Camp added that the city gets a tremendous value out of its fire department.

    "This department does a lot with a limited amount of resources and limited dollars to work with," he said. "We've been pretty successful in getting grant money."

    Camp said that money has been used to buy wildland firefighting tools and technology and even pay the salary of six firefighters.

    Deputy Fire Chief Gary Jolley said Camp was instrumental in getting a new training facility for Provo and implementing other ideas.

    "Our department now is in good order," Jolley said. "We have a lot of programs going on where he was the one to spearhead them and get them going."

    Jolley also praised his departing chief's leadership, saying Camp offered instruction while trusting his crews to do their jobs.

    Mayor John Curtis echoed that sentiment. In an email, Curtis described himself as lucky to have become mayor while Camp was working for the city. Curtis also highlighted Camp's wit and leadership through an unusually active period.

    "He has seen this city through some major and minor fire incidents," Curtis wrote, "always demonstrating the highest level of professionalism, and I've considered it a privilege to work with him."
    Last edited by UTFFEMT; 07-11-2012, 05:31 PM. Reason: add photo
    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

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    Front line since 1983 and still going strong


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