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!