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Waynesboro hires new fire chief

October 16, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - G. Dale Fishack, a paid Hagerstown firefighter, takes over as chief of the Waynesboro Fire Department Jan. 5, succeeding retiring part-time Chief Donald Ringer.

Ringer, 69, is ending 49 years of service as a volunteer firefighter, including four years as chief.

The Borough Council hired Fishack, 28, of nearby Ringgold, Md., this week for a salary of about $30,000, said Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger II.

Fishack will be a full-time driver, as well as chief. The department runs with five full-time paid drivers and volunteer firefighters, Hamberger said.

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Fishack was chosen from a field of 26 candidates including four or five local applicants, Hamberger said.

"It was an extraordinarily hard decision. We had a lot of good quality applicants. We felt his qualifications and experience would fit our needs," Hamberger said.

Fishack grew up in Smithsburg, graduated from Smithsburg High School in 1987 and earned a bachelor's degree in fire science from the University of Maryland. He has been with the Hagerstown Fire Department for four years, he said.

"There won't be any opportunity here in the near future, so I thought Waynesboro would be a good career move to a higher-level position," Fishack said.

Fishack must move to Waynesboro as a condition of employment.

"It won't be a problem. My family always came to Waynesboro to shop. I only live three-tenths of a mile from the state line. Waynesboro is a good community with a good fire department," he said.

Historically, the department has operated with a part-time chief, either a volunteer or a paid driver who was appointed to the post, Hamberger said. He said it is hard for a part-time chief to supervise full-time drivers.

He said Ringer's retirement, coupled with a full-time driver's vacancy, gave the council an opportunity to move to a full-time chief's position.

Fishack must take a series of civil service tests to qualify for the job. If he passes, he will start as a full-time driver and work with Ringer until he retires, Hamberger said.

The Waynesboro Fire Department consists of the Always There Hook and Ladder Co. on South Potomac Street and the Mechanics Steam Fire Engine and Hose Co. on Virginia Avenue.

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