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Willow, Caswell hire first fire chief

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: Rachel McPherron - 6:24 PM August 15, 2014

This week the Department of Emergency Services in the Mat-Su Borough took a huge step in its effort to keep you safe by hiring Mahlon Greene.

Greene just signed on as the new fire chief for Willow and Caswell.

He has no footsteps to follow. He is the first and only full-time fireman hired by the Mat-Su Borough to cover the 160-square-mile area.

“What I’ll be doing is a lot of administrative things, going through the tools and things we have and try to replace anything that’s needed, and making sure our trucks are functional and ready to go,” Greene said.

Approval and funding for the new position is something Mat-Su Emergency Services has been asking for for years.

The Valley is growing and so is the demand for full-time first responders. With more than 300 on-call volunteers in eight fire service areas, officials hope adding Greene’s position starts a trend.

“We also have Sutton, Butte, the greater Palmer fire service area, and then Talkeetna. We would like to eventually have full-time management in every single one of these fire service areas,” said Mat-Su Emergency Services Director Dennis Brodigan.

The first week on a new job is overwhelming, but Greene says he has priorities set to get home insurance rates down, provide more access to information and increase public safety.

“This is a dream job. I pinch myself now and then to make sure it really happened — to be in an area I love and someday will retire in,” Greene said.

Emergency Services plans on asking the Mat-Su Assembly for at least one more full-time fire chief for the Butte/Sutton area during next year’s budget planning session.

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