On Friday, January 18, 2019, Assistant Chief Matt LaVanchy concluded an accomplished 21-year career with the Pattonville Fire Protection District. Chief LaVanchy began his career with the Pattonville Fire Protection District in January 1998 and served in the ranks of Paramedic-Firefighter, Secondary Engineer, Deputy Chief – Medical Officer, and ultimately spent fourteen years as Pattonville’s Assistant Fire Chief. Chief LaVanchy had served as a former Union Shop Steward for the Pattonville Shop, and was formerly the Director of Communications for the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2665. Regionally, Chief LaVanchy served as the Commanding Officer/Chairman of the Hazardous Materials Emergency Response and Heavy Rescue Task Force Special Operations Teams of St. Louis County, as well as the Vice-Chair of the St. Louis County Local Emergency Planning Commission.
All of us at Pattonville, and most likely the community as well, will remember Chief LaVanchy for his relentless dedication to the oversight of the complex situation at the Bridgeton & West Lake landfills. Since the potential risk of this situation was first realized, Chief LaVanchy has been deeply involved in studying and monitoring the sub-surface smoldering event at the landfill and its impact on the radioactive waste buried nearby. He was always a dedicated, committed and passionate community advocate in his work on this situation.
In his new career path, Chief LaVanchy will continue to serve others in their time of need. Just three days after his retirement, he began work on his next venture as an incident management specialist in the state of California. Chief LaVanchy will be coordinating the efforts of heavy equipment operating engineers, laborers and construction company foremen all working together to clean up the devastation, destruction, debris and harmful toxins left behind by tragic wildfires. As he described his new role, “We get to give hope to those who have survived their darkest days and feel helpless and lost. This is one of the most rewarding things a person can experience.”
Chief, we wish you well! Thank you for your service, your dedication, your concern, your passion, your advocacy, and your friendship. As you transition into your new role, accept our congratulations on your distinguished career in the fire service. Stay safe!
The latest edition of the Pattonville Fire Protection District Newsletter is currently being printed and will soon be delivered to your home or business mailbox! This latest edition is available now on our website and at the link below. CLICK HERE to jump over to our Newsletter archives!
Fall 2018 Newsletter (& Santa’s Schedule!)
The latest edition of the Pattonville Fire Protection District Newsletter is currently being printed and will soon be delivered to your home or business mailbox! This latest edition is available now on our website, along with all of the previous newsletters from recent years. CLICK HERE to jump over to our Newsletter archives!
This morning, Pattonville Firefighter/Paramedic Randy Vasquez competed as part of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Fitness Team in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Through private sponsorships and donations, Randy's run raised funds to support the work of the IAFF Charitable Foundation. The IAFF Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, non-profit organization, was established to support the health, safety, and welfare of firefighters, paramedics, and their families and communities impacted by fire and disasters. The Foundation consists of five funds that support firefighters in their greatest time of need: 1. Burn Fund - assists burn survivors; 2. Disaster Relief Fund - provides financial assistance to firefighters due to natural and man-made disasters; 3. Fallen Firefighter Memorial Fund - hosts an annual memorial service for firefighters killed in the line of duty and maintains the memorial; 4. W.H. "Howie" McClennan Scholarship Fund - provides financial assistance to the children of fallen firefighters; & 5. John P. Redmond Fund - promotes and supports research and education on health and safety issues for firefighters. These funds are very important and help those who help others.
Randy completed his 26.2 mile run today in 4 hours and 13 minutes, and has surpassed his fund raising goal on behalf of the IAFF Charitable Foundation! The entire Pattonville Fire Protection District is proud of Firefighter/Paramedic Vasquez's achievement this morning, and his charitable accomplishment!
Swift Water Rescue Teams comprised of members of the St. Louis County Fire Service will soon be deploying to College Station, Texas, to join the rescue efforts that continue in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. At 8:00 PM tonight, Firefighter/Paramedics cross-trained as Swift Water Rescue Technicians from the Pattonville Fire Protection District, West County EMS & Fire Protection District, Metro West Fire Protection District, Maryland Heights Fire Protection District, and Monarch Fire Protection District will embark on an eight-day deployment. In addition to water rescue efforts, they will also be participating in the general effort to provide aid and assistance to those tragically effected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us in wishing them safety during their travels and rescue duties while in Texas, and be sure to stay tuned to this website and our Official Facebook Page for any additional reports that we can pass on regarding their activities while on this deployment.
On Friday, January 20th, the doors of Pattonville Fire Protection District Headquarters were closed and locked for the weekend as they have been many times before. But, this Friday was special. This time the doors were closed amid feelings of celebration, accomplishment, fulfillment and gratitude as two Chief Officers with a combined 75 years of fire service experience walked out of the firehouse one final time and into their well deserved retirements. Although Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal Paul Richard and Fire Chief Terry Loehrer will both be sorely missed by the Pattonville Fire Protection District and the St. Louis area fire service as a whole, the accomplishments they leave behind will forever keep both citizens and firefighters safe.
Chief Loehrer and Deputy Chief Richard, as you enjoy your first days of retirement, we thank you for the many years of dedicated service you gave to the Pattonville Fire Protection District. Your visionary leadership, innovative techniques, adaptive and committed work ethic, consistency, accountability, honest communication and friendship over the years has undoubtedly made both Pattonville Fire Protection District and the fire service a safer, better place. We wish you both a long, prosperous, healthy and enjoyable retirement!
On Tuesday, January 17th, 2017, the Pattonville Fire Protection District Board of Directors recognized four department members for their individual years of service to the district's citizens.
Engineers Kerry Dick and Dave Fine were each recognized for providing 30 years of service to the Pattonville Fire Protection District and were each presented with a commemorative fire service bell in honor of reaching this milestone in their respective careers.
Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal Paul Richard was recognized as retiring from his career with Pattonville Fire Protection District. Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal Richard served for 33 years with the Pattonville Fire Protection District and had a total fire service career length of 37 years. Board Chairman Bill Esterline presented Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal Richard with a commemorative fire service axe in honor and congratulations of his successful career and retirement.
Fire Chief Terry Loehrer was also recognized as retiring from his career with Pattonville Fire Protection District. Chief Loehrer served for 31 years with the Pattonville Fire Protection District and had a total fire service career length of 38 years. Board Chairman Bill Esterline presented Chief Loehrer with a commemorative fire service axe in honor and congratulations of his distinguished career and retirement. Chief Loehrer was also presented with a fire helmet signed by all current Pattonville employees.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Fire Marshals Association presented its annual Bill Fox Award to Pattonville Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Paul Richard at the MFMA Luncheon at the Sprinkler Fitter’s Union Local 268 Training Center on December 14, 2016. The Bill Fox Award is presented to an individual who exemplifies the dedication and efforts to further Fire Prevention and Life Safety. Chief Bill Fox was active in the fire service for over 40 years and was Fire Chief of the Shrewsbury Fire Department at the time of his death in 2015. Chief Fox spent his life actively supporting organizations such as the Metro Fire Marshals Association and the Burns Recovered Support Group. He was a dedicated outspoken advocate of fire department training, fire prevention, life safety education and fire sprinklers.
Deputy Chief Richard was chosen as the recipient of this award for his dedication to Fire Prevention, Life Safety and Code Enforcement while serving as the Fire Marshal for the Pattonville Fire Protection District. After many years of dedicated service to the residents, businesses and visitors to the Pattonville Fire Protection District, Deputy Chief-Fire Marshal Richard has chosen to retire at the beginning of the 2017 new year.
Deputy Chief Richard, on behalf of all that you have protected over your career, thank you for your dedicated service and congratulations on your much deserved retirement!
On Tuesday, November 1st, 2016, Pattonville Fire Protection District was awarded a $1,200.00 grant by the Missouri-American Water Company. The funding provided by the grant will be utilized to purchase fire extinguishers that will be provided to high-risk rental properties within the geographic region served by the Pattonville Fire Protection District. The goal of the project is to reduce the frequency and severity of kitchen fires in rental properties. It is our hope that this will in turn decrease the potential for occupants to be injured if a fire occurs in their homes. The grant procurement project was headed up by Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Laurie Taylor. Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Taylor will ensure that all fire extinguisher recipients are trained by the Pattonville Fire Protection District on how to use their new extinguishers appropriately and safely. All of the members of the Pattonville Fire Protection District would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Missouri-American Water Company for seeing the value in this project and for partnering with us to ensure our residents' safety!
The Pattonville Fire Protection District received an Official Proclamation from the City of Bridgeton, MO, at the September 21st, 2016, City Council Meeting in recognition of our ISO Class 1 rating. Chairman Bill Esterline and Fire Chief Dave Dotson were present to accept the award along with other chief officers, on duty personnel and staff members. We are honored to have been awarded this Proclamation from our community partners in the City of Bridgeton! The Pattonville Fire Protection District offers our sincere thanks to Mayor Terry Briggs and the entire Bridgeton City Council, as well as the Bridgeton community for allowing us to serve in the manner in which we are able! We are PROUD to be YOUR fire protection district!
At the August 23, 2016 meeting of the Board of Directors, the Pattonville Fire Protection District was awarded the prestigious Class 1 designation by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), the leading independent national insurance rating service. The Class 1 designation is the highest attainable classification conferred by the ISO and has been earned by less than 200 fire departments across the nation. As of this posting, Pattonville Fire Protection District is only the second ISO Class 1 Fire District in the State of Missouri. The rating is a complex and in-depth evaluation of fire protection and typically translates into lower property insurance premiums paid by owners of homes and businesses within the Pattonville Fire Protection District. The Class 1 status will take effect on December 31, 2016. The fire district will be re-evaluated on a regular basis.
The 2008 voter-approved bond issue played a direct role in enabling Pattonville Fire Protection District to attain the ISO Class 1 designation in the following ways:
- Two new and modern fire stations were constructed at strategic locations within the district, thereby decreasing emergency response times.
- Fire engines and ladder trucks were appropriately designed and purchased to match the specific needs of the geographic areas to which they respond the most frequently, as well as to meet the requirements of Pattonville Fire Protection District's service area as a whole.
- The District Headquarters & Training Facility was remodeled, allowing Pattonville Firefighter/Paramedics to participate in the most advanced, and up to date training available.
This accomplishment is another way of showing that the Pattonville Fire Protection District will continue to do Whatever It Takes to ensure that our service customers, our residents and business owners, continue to receive the best Fire/EMS/Rescue services available. We hope that you are as proud of our new classification as we are to have attained it.
For more on the ISO classification system, please visit the ISO Classification page under the "About" tab on our website, or by clicking HERE.
Pattonville Fire District appoints Laurie Taylor as the new Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal:
During the July 5th, 2016, Board of Directors meeting, the Pattonville Fire Protection District officially appointed Laurie Taylor to the rank of Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal. Deputy Chief Taylor has over 25 years of fire service experience, and previously served in the ranks of Firefighter-Paramedic, Engineer, Acting Captain, Fire Inspector and Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal Transitional Officer. As Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal, Chief Taylor will be responsible for managing the District's fire prevention, inspection, code enforcement and pre-incident planning programs. Deputy Chief Taylor fills the post previously held by Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal Paul Richard, who has now transitioned into the role of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer - Fire Marshal with plans to retire later this fall.
For more about Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal Laurie Taylor, check out her bio HERE.
As the majority of our residents know, our community has been reminded often that the troubles surrounding the municipal landfill are still affecting this area. Four years ago, the Pattonville Fire District received information that a “smoldering event” was occurring underground in the southern portion of the closed Bridgeton Municipal Landfill. We had also learned that this event had been going on for the previous year and quite possibly longer than that. The Pattonville Fire Protection District has taken the position since the very onset of our involvement that the health and welfare of our residents, visitors, and neighbors is at the top on the list of priorities when it comes to dealing with the ongoing issues surrounding the entire project. Our focus has also been to make every effort to understand the risks for our fire fighters who would be called on in the event that conditions change and force our firefighters to be placed in harm’s way. It is our responsibility to have as much knowledge about the multitude of possible scenarios that could take place and be able to deal with those possibilities while reducing the risks to the community, workers at the sight, and the fire fighters, all of which, could be placed in a very hazardous situation at any time. We want our district residents to know that while at times it appears that things are moving slowly, or not as fast as some think it should be going, we are here for our fellow neighbors, watching the data, monitoring the status of the heat and gases and keeping this community’s health and safety our number one priority.
• The State of MO has done its own testing and found radioactive waste off-site. As a result of this announcement, the EPA came out with previously “known” locations that they have been aware of in which radioactive wastes are off site. The EPA has pledged to continue to test off-site areas specifically emphasizing potential drainage areas.
• New locations with radioactive contamination have been found on the landfill in an area closer to the fire than previously thought. There are discussions between the State of MO and the EPA about complete characterization of the North Quarry and continuing to test further South closer to the heat front for areas that may contain radioactive wastes.
• In response to the State of MO’s ground water sampling and the USGS, the EPA has announced that the ground water contamination at this site continues to be an issue. The ground water has now been titled OU3 and under CERCLA Superfund Law will need its own Record of Decision (solution). More studies of the ground water are needed to ensure the best remedy. The EPA estimates approximately two more years of collecting ground water data every quarter before they will decide on a permanent solution to the groundwater.
• The bill to transfer authority of the radioactive wastes to the US Army Corps of Engineers passed the Senate and is now awaiting passage in the House. This bill is titled HR4100 and was introduced bi-partisan, by Congressman Lacy Clay and Congresswoman Ann Wagner. It was co-sponsored by Congressman Blaine Leutkemeyer.
• The St. Louis County Health Department has finished their data collection for a County Health Emissions/Respiratory Health Study in a two mile area surrounding the landfill. Results are not expected to be released until June 2016.
Pattonville Fire District announces Dave Dotson as the new Fire Chief:
During the March 15, 2016 Board of Directors meeting, the Pattonville Fire Protection District officially appointed David Dotson to the rank of Fire Chief of the District. Chief Dotson has over 28 years of fire service experience, and has held the ranks of Firefighter/Medic, Captain, Battalion Chief/Training Officer, and Fire Chief Transitional Officer. Under his tenure as Training Officer, he has been instrumental in expanding the District’s Fire Command Simulation Training to regional and statewide audiences, with most training being funded through a mix of state and federal grant funding. The District has been transitioning leadership for several months with the impending retirements of Fire Chief Terry Loehrer and Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Paul Richard. Fire Chief Terry Loehrer will continue to guide the remaining departmental transition as Chief Administrative Officer until his retirement on January 3rd, 2017.