On Friday, Jan. 24, Big Sky Fire Station #1 will host an open house appreciation party for Chief William Farhat’s committed service to the Big Sky community over the last eight years.
Chief Farhat has been fighting fires for nearly 30 years in four different states, and in Big Sky since 2011, when he took over the position as BSFD Fire Chief. The experienced first responder is set to become the Fire Marshal for the Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida, overseeing fire safety and programs in the eighth largest district in the U.S. with 215,000 students, 2,500 employees and over 200 schools.
“It’s a great transition. This is my 31st year of being a first responder. That’s a lot of years of waking up in the middle of the night or working on weekends and holidays,” Chief Farhat said. “I’m looking forward to more work/life balance.”
Explore Big Sky
When the alarm sounds at the Olney Fire Department, just five local responders receive that call to action. The remote fire hall is in desperate need of additional volunteers to keep its operation running, serving the rural hamlet of 200 residents along with travelers on nearby U.S. 93.
It’s not the first time they’ve been short-handed.
About a year ago, the department shuttered its ambulance service due to a lack responders, and Fire Chief Jordan Carr said volunteer numbers on the fire side have plummeted to as low as two, begging the question — what’s next for the department’s future?
Carr, the fire chief of six months, hopes to get the department going in the right direction.
Kalispell Daily Interlake
City officials said Thursday Billings faces challenges and needs quicker response times for emergency calls.
A meeting at the Billings Public Library Royal Johnson Community Room gave the public a chance to comment and ask about safety issues.
More police officers and firefighters would make Billings safer, according to city leaders.
The city handed out a questionnaire and the last question was: “Are you in favor of increasing investments into public safety?”
Chief Rich St. John said violent crime and property crime made a big jump in 2011 because of methamphetamine.
He said on average, nine officers can handle five to six calls per hour.
However, in 2018, the police received about 10 calls per hour.
Billings Fire Chief Bill Rash also talked about response times and said an eighth fire station, in the Heights, would help throughout the city.
KTVQ-TV CBS 2 Billings
Emergency crews responded to a house fire just south of Great Falls on Thursday.
The fire was at house on the 900 block of Franklin Avenue, just east of Lower River Road, several miles south of city limits.
Several fire departments were called to the scene, including Great Falls Fire Rescue and Malmstrom Air Force Base, and utility crews were also asked to respond.
The fire was reported at about 9:40 a.m. on Thursday.
The Salvation Army also sent its "Sally One" food truck to provide refreshments to the firefighters.
There were no reports of any injuries, and no word yet on the cause. The extent and value of damage has not yet been determined.
KRTV CBS 3 Great Falls