After 10 years as the O’Fallon fire chief, Brent Saunders will retire from leading the department and he plans to take a position in the private sector.
Saunders, 54, initially volunteered for the department 35 years ago in 1983 and in 2008 he was named the department’s first paid, full-time fire chief in the department’s history.
The city said Friday that it will immediately begin a search for a new chief. Saunders said his last day is Nov. 9 but that he will be available to help the city as needed during the transition period.
“Amazing” is how Saunders described what he experienced with the fire department.
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Saunders said he began volunteering with the fire department as a way to give back to his community.
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve alongside the great firefighters of O’Fallon Fire Rescue,” Saunders said in the city’s news release. “I will never forget the memories I have made with the O’Fallon Fire Department and this community.”
Records show the fire chief earned $96,877 in 2017. Saunders said he could not release details about his new position.
O’Fallon’s Fire Department was upgraded from an ISO Class 4 to an ISO Class 3 rated agency during Saunders’ tenure, the city said in the news release.
“This rating places O’Fallon’s Fire Department in the top 15 percent of all fire departments in the state of Illinois,” the release stated.
“Chief Saunders directed O’Fallon’s Fire Department through some of its most important, and fastest growing years in history,” Mayor Herb Roach said in a statement. “He has served with professionalism, expertise, and bravery. We owe him a debt of gratitude. The entire community will miss his leadership.”