THOMASVILLE — A new fire chief has been named for the City of Cairo.

City Manager William Whitson announced Wednesday afternoon an offer of employment has been extended to Donald “Don” Towne, of Kingsland, pending an all clear on his background check.

“We narrowed it down to two individuals and chose a fire chief and an alternate candidate in case something unusual happens,” said Whitson. “I think we’re fortunate to be able to get a person of Towne’s capabilities. I think he and the alternate rose to the top of the field when the interview process was conducted here last week.”

Towne, in a phone interview, said he is excited to have the opportunity to work in Cairo.

“I’m just ecstatic,” he said. “I’ve received so many calls of support from the community already, and I’m definitely looking forward to coming to Cairo.”

Towne, 37, has more than 20 years of fire service experience, including management, suppression, fire prevention, equipment, facility procurement/maintenance, and the Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating system.

He has served as fire captain for Kingsland Fire Rescue since 2002, and held leadership positions with several other departments including assistant fire chief/training officer at Camden County Fire Rescue and assistant fire chief with the United States Coast Guard.

His starting salary is $53,000 with $1,000 for moving expenses, within the range ($34,570 to $57,801) set for the position.

Towne expected to be in Cairo by mid-October.

The alternate is Dean King of Donalsonville. King has 28 years of fire service experience and is the current training captain for Donalsonville Fire Rescue. He is a member of the Georgia Firefighters Association and the Georgia Association of Fire Chief’s, and the current president of SOWEGA Fire Chief’s Association.

“It was a close call and both are excellent candidates,” said Whitson. “Upon final analysis, Mr. Towne has some expertise and proven track records in grant writing and being a team builder that put him at the top.”

Towne said he is looking forward to a new challenge.

“I’m at a point in my career where I am looking forward to new challenges,” he said. “I’m definitely eager to come to a new community and working with the Cairo Fire Department’s employees and volunteers.”

Towne also has a few priorities as the new fire chief.

“It is important to give the citizens of Cairo the best fire protection service possible,” he said. “We can do that through training and fire prevention. I’m also real big on fire education for school children.”

He hopes his strong background in grant writing will be beneficial to the CFD.

“Fire departments are traditionally expensive to run,” said Towne. “One way to alleviate that burden and provide proper fire protection is by receiving grants. I think I can bring a lot to Cairo in that area.”

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