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Chief Anderson resigns from South Summit Fire Department, interim chief appointed

South Summit Fire Station 41 in Kamas.
Courtesy Dome Technology
South Summit Fire Station 41 in Kamas.

Former Fire Chief Scott Anderson quit the South Summit Fire Protection District last week, as did the department’s secretary and treasurer SheaLee Holbrook.

Anderson and Holbrook both cited differences of opinion with fire district leadership as contributing to their decisions to resign. Holbrook submitted her letter to the board first, with Anderson’s coming a day later.

Holbrook had also received a better job offer. She remains a volunteer firefighter, and said in a statement that she “just stepped away from the office side of things.”

SSFD Board Chair David Ure said Anderson walks away from the department a “hero,” having fought fires for 49 years. He also called Anderson’s and Holbrook’s resignations unrelated.

Former Assistant Chief Mike Sanderson will be interim chief of SSFD, and Melanie Mitchell will be the department’s interim secretary and treasurer.

The announcement came at an emergency commissioner meeting convened March 24, which was attended by about a dozen firefighters at the all-volunteer department.

Sanderson has almost 20 years experience at SSFD, and he said that it will be “business as usual” when it comes to responding to calls.

Ure, who asked Mitchell to fill in for Holbrook, said she has plenty of experience in the public and private sector to step up. Mitchell has worked as an administrative assistant for the South Summit School District.

Fire Marshal Kent Leavitt—a firefighting veteran of nearly four decades himself—is the new assistant chief, the position Interim Chief Sanderson vacated.

Fire district leadership says it could be a month before the department begins the process of filling the jobs permanently. Ure said they need to follow Utah law and open the positions up for applications.

SSFD is waiting for the results of a study conducted by independent consultants at SafeTech Solutions, LLP. SafeTech is looking at Emergency Medical Services across Summit County and could recommend changes to improve service.

Currently, Park City Fire District coordinates all of Summit County’s EMS response.

Ure said the county manager has received SafeTech’s study and it could become public around April 20.