After more than 34 years of fires, wrecks and just plain old helping folks out in need, Columbia Falls Fire Chief Rick Hagen is hanging up his takeout gear.
Hagen has been the chief of the Columbia Falls Fire Department for the past 10 years. He started out as a volunteer when he lived in town back in 1985. He then moved to Bad Rock, where he was a volunteer for 20 years there — 14 as chief of that department.
It’s been a rewarding career.
“It’s the greatest job in the world,” he said during a recent interview. “I still think it’s fun. You get paid to go help somebody. There’s a lot of job satisfaction and that’s my definition of a good job. Especially when you succeed in helping someone.”
Over the years there have been many memorable fires, some of them tragic. The fire at the Barry residence in 2010 up the North Fork was tragic, as three people died from smoke inhalation in the blaze. The home did not have any working smoking detectors.