Highland News Leader

New chief appointed for St. Jacob Fire Protection District

Nic Klaus
Nic Klaus

St. Jacob has a new fire chief.

At Monday night’s meeting of the St. Jacob Township Fire Protection District, Scott Prange announced he would be retiring as chief, effective that day.

“After careful consideration, I felt it was time to move on,” Prange said. “It is my intention to remain a member of the department, serving as rank of firefighter.”

Prange, who is vice president at State Bank of St. Jacob, served as St. Jacob chief for nine years and eight months.

Fire district trustees appointed Capt. Nic Klaus, 36, to fill the chief’s position.

A Highland native, Klaus has been a firefighter for 10 years, including three years with the St. Jacob Fire Department, where he has spent about the past year as its EMS captain. He was also a Highland firefighter for seven years.

He is a salesman with Atlas Supply Co., a plumbing supply store in St. Louis. He and his wife, Ashley, now live in St. Jacob with their two children, Lucas, 6, and Cooper, 1.

“Lucas is really excited about me becoming chief,” Klaus said. “He thinks it’s neat.”

Klaus graduated from Highland High School in 1997, and from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2003 with a degree in sociology employment relations.

He has also has earned a Firefighter II and HAZMAT certifications, his first responder license and undertaken some National Incident Management System (NIMS) training, which is put on by the Department of Homeland Security.

Klaus plans to institute no changes as chief in St. Jacob.

“I was surprised by the appointment. I am honored and excited to serve as chief. But I’m very humbled,” he said.

St. Jacob is an all-volunteer department with 35 firefighters.