By Steve Reilly
The Englewood Sun
ENGLEWOOD, Fla. — The Englewood Area Fire Control District board wants Assistant Chief Scott Lane to consider serving as the district's fire chief.
'You've done such a great job with training and bringing this department forward,' Fire Commissioner Charles Bray said at the board's meeting Wednesday. 'You can do the job, I think.'
Lane has been serving as interim chief in the wake of Chief Brian Gorski departure after announcing he wasn't renewing his contract. Last week was Gorski's final week with the district.
'I had a feeling Gorski was leaving,' Bray said. 'I would like to postpone sending out advertisements (for the position). I would really like (Lane) to consider this.'
Commissioner Robert Bacon agreed with Bray.
'You can get along with everybody,' Bacon said.
Fire Commission Chairman Jeff Kern did not attend the meeting Wednesday, so Bray suggested Lane consider the position and decide before the commission's next meeting in January.
Lane said Thursday he's seriously considering the offer.
'I'm getting my feet wet now,' he said.
Born and raised in Venice, Lane 48, first served as a 'junior firefighter' at age 15. On his first day at the Nokomis volunteer department, Lane said, the department answered a house-fire call.
'I did everything (firefighters) did,' he recalled. 'I went in and fought fires.'
In 1983, Lane became a state-certified firefighter. He rose though the ranks and became the volunteer department's chief, its first paid position. He served as chief for 17 years.
In 2004, Lane left the volunteer department and started working as a captain for the Englewood fire district. He was named an assistant chief five years ago.
'In Nokomis, they didn't really have a retirement plan, then the opportunity came up to come here as a training officer,' Lane said.
As assistant chief, Lane has been overseeing the fire district's training academy. One of the goals of the academy, he said, has been to teach students not only what they need to pass state certification, but also the skills they need to be qualified firefighters when they are called to fight fires.
'In Nokomis, because it is a volunteer department, you constantly have guys coming in and getting trained, then they get hired (as paid firefighters in other departments), then another group gets trained and they get hired,' Lane said. 'I got tired of seeing all the guys I was training getting hired and retiring before me.'
Lane speaks highly of Englewood's firefighters, pointing out how much time they spend keeping up their training. He also saluted the firefighters who took rollbacks to their pension plan and froze their salaries for three years.
Lane said, 'They did that without quarrel. That speaks volumes.'
Lane praises the prior chiefs — from Joe Velardi to Andy Rock Jr. to Mike Bonakoski to Gorski — and said each one 'took the fire district to the next step.' Lane said he would want to build on that.
'(The fire district) will not miss a beat,' Lane said.
Copyright 2012 Englewood Sun
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