Washington City’s new fire chief sworn in

WASHINGTON CITY – The City Council chambers at the Washington City Hall were packed with family, friends, city officials and others as Matt Evans was sworn in as the city’s new fire chief Monday.

Matt Evans is sworn in as Washington City's new fire chief. He replacing retiring Fire Chief Brent Hafen, Washington City, Utah, March 28, 2015 | Photo by St. George News
Matt Evans is sworn in as Washington City’s new fire chief. He replacing retiring Fire Chief Brent Hafen, Washington City, Utah, March 28, 2015 | Photo by St. George News

City officials announced earlier this month that Evans, then a captain in the ranks of the Washington City Fire Department, had been named the new fire chief. He replaces Chief Brent Hafen whose time as the fire chief came to a close last Friday.

“We’re excited to have Evans,” Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson said. “We’re hoping his career begins and ends with Washington City.”

Evans has been involved in firefighting since 1991 and worked two years in the emergency medical services field before that with Gold Cross Ambulance in northern Utah. He joined the Washington City Fire Department in 2013 when Hafen became the fire chief.

During his time with the Fire Department, Evans has won the admiration and support of his fellow firefighters, City Manager Roger Carter said.

“It’s extremely exciting, but also overwhelming,” Evans said, adding that being the new chief really hasn’t sunk in all the way yet.

Retiring Washington City Fire Chief Brent Hafen (left) shaking hands with his successor, new Fire Chief Matt Evans, Washington City, Utah, March 28, 2015 | Photo by St. George News
Retiring Washington City Fire Chief Brent Hafen (left) shaking hands with his successor, new Fire Chief Matt Evans, Washington City, Utah, March 28, 2015 | Photo by St. George News

Evans said he’ll never be able to fill Hafen’s shoes, nor does he plan on initiating any major changes within the Fire Department since Hafen left a “perfect road map” for him to follow.

While standing before the crowd gathered to see him sworn in, Evans thanked those who came, including some longtime friends who worked with him when he originally become an emergency responder. He also thanked his fellow Washington City firefighters for their support, as well as the support of their families and his own.

Among those crowded into the City Council Chambers were members of the boys and girls Desert Hills High Schoul lacrosse teams, which Evans coaches.

“He really deserves this,” Braxton Barns, one of the team captains, said. “He’s always working hard.”

Barns and his teammates said Evans is always supporting the team and making time for people where possible.

St. George Fire Chief (left) and new Washington City Fire Chief Matt Evans (right). Evans was sworn in as the new chief, replacing retiring fire chief, Brent Hafen, Washington City, Utah, March 28, 2015 | Photo by St. George News
St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker (left) and new Washington City Fire Chief Matt Evans (right). Evans was sworn in as the new chief, replacing retiring fire chief, Brent Hafen, Washington City, Utah, March 28, 2015 | Photo by St. George News

“He’s just a really great guy,” Riley Mills, another team captain, said.

Evans was chosen from a field of many qualified applicants that included fire battalion chiefs and fire wardens, Carter said. After sifting through “an outstanding pool of applicants,” he said, it was decided Evans was the man the city wanted.

Having retired from the Fire Department, Hafen will be moving to Nevada where his father and uncles run a ranch in the Caliente area.

“I’ve been working all my life to be able to go there,” Hafen said previously, “it’s kind of my dream.”

Neilson, who has known Hafen since they were children, said it’s hard to see him go, but wishes him well in his new endeavors.

“It’s sad for me to see Brent go, but Brent is doing what he wants to do,” Neilson said. “He really wants to be with his father up on the ranch. It’s sad to have him go, but I am excited for Brent personally.”

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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