It was trial by fire for Vadnais Height’s new fire chief.
Less than two weeks after his predecessor, former Chief Ed Leier, announced his retirement, Chris Hearden, 55, helped put out a house fire started by Molotov cocktails.
“That was a first,” he said.
A month later, Gov. Tim Walz issued his first executive order for Minnesotans to shelter in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Two months after that, Hearden helped make up a task force to provide support to other departments fighting fires during the civil unrest in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Vadnais Heights Mayor Heidi Gunderson said Hearden’s assistance with the city’s response planning was invaluable.
“I have been extremely impressed by his steady leadership style and common sense approach to issues,” she said. “It is apparent that he truly cares about his staff and our community.”