Metro-East News

Collinsville fire chief resigns

Collinsville Fire Chief Mark Emert is leaving his post to take the helm of another fire department.

Emert handed in his resignation Monday and his last day at headquarters in Collinsville will be Dec. 31. He’ll report for duty in January as Fire Chief in Helena, Mont., nearly 1,250 miles away.

I’m going to be an empty nester. It felt like the right time to see what was out there

Collinsville Fire Chief Mark Emert

“I got a daughter that’s moving away to go to college, I’m going to be an empty nester. It felt like the right time to see what was out there,” Emert, 53, said. He will be the first fire chief in Helena hired from outside the department.

“Everybody I came in contact with there made me feel very welcome. This is just a stellar opportunity,” Emert said of a recent visit to Helena.

He said that as “a pretty avid outdoorsman,” moving to a town in the Rocky Mountains felt like “a good place to finish out my career.”

“We’re sorry to lose him, but that’s his decision,” Collinsville Mayor John Miller said Tuesday. “We have a very good fire department and it continued doing well during his tenure.”

We’re sorry to lose him, but that’s his decision. We have a very good fire department and it continued doing well during his tenure

Collinsville Mayor John Miller

Emert is originally from Decatur. He was a firefighter in the Affton, Mo. Fire Protection District in St. Louis County for 25 years and rose to become assistant chief there before taking over in Collinsville in 2012.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here, I’m thankful for Collinsville. I’ve learned a lot and it’s been a pleasure serving them,” Emert said. “We’ve got a great group of firefighters here, some of the best firefighters I’ve ever come into contact with.

“Obviously, serving the citizens has been great,” he added.

We’ve got a great group of firefighters here, some of the best firefighters I’ve ever come into contact with

Collinsville Fire Chief Mark Emert

Emert’s first day on the job in Montana will be Jan. 19.

Miller said the city has not yet chosen Emert’s replacement, but said the department will be in good hands during their search.

“We have to look at who’s available and who’s interested. We’ve got adequate folks over there to run the department at this point,” Miller said.

Tobias Wall: 618-239-2501, @Wall_BND

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