La Grande firefighter Emmitt Cornford is coming out of retirement — for the second time in four years.
Cornford has been appointed interim chief of the La Grande Fire Department. The firefighter, whose appointment took effect earlier this month, is filling the vacancy created when Les Thomas stepped down as fire chief. Thomas, whose resignation took effect July 5, had served as fire chief since June of 2018. He could not be reached for comment about why he resigned or his future plans by press time.
Cornford has more than three decades of service with the La Grande Fire Department. He retired in April of 2016 but was called back to duty about a year later when the department’s new fire chief resigned. Cornford then agreed to come out of retirement and served as interim fire chief for four months before Thomas was hired. Thomas came to Northeast Oregon from Texas, where he had been a firefighter for several decades.