Pine City Fire Marshal Dave Hill spent 21 years in that role in Pine City, and was honored by the city council on Aug. 28 as he retired.
Hill recalled starting with the city fire department in 1976 after signing up on a napkin.
In 1998, the fire marshal at that time changed jobs to the Twin Cities, and Hill stepped in as Pine City’s fourth fire marshal.
He said it was a tragedy at that time that led to a new city program – inspection of rental properties.
“We had a death,” Hill said. “I was asking one of the council members, ‘Why don’t we inspect these places?’ And that’s how the whole thing started.
“I know we can honestly say we haven’t had a death since,” he continued. “The problem with fire prevention and the work that we do is, there are no statistics kept on [fires prevented]. But I think we all know the importance
of it, and it has been shown that training and education ... is vital in any city.
“You’re always going to have a little bit of conflict,” he noted. “But they did work out. I’m a better person because of what I’ve done. I think it has been good for everybody ... we’ve seen the importance of [rental inspections] and the benefits from it.” Hill said he was confident that Pine City’s Safety
Inspector Andy Luedtke would build on the program they had created.
“I feel real good about the changeover,” Hill said. “We’ve got an excellent man in place in Andy. He was trainable. I probably wasn’t. I think [the program] will continue and I think it will flourish under our
new leadership.” Pine City Mayor Carl Pederson talked about the
decades Hill has spent working for Pine City. “You’ve been a great asset to the community, and service to the residents in this town,” Pederson said.
“You’ve always handled things very effectively and with tact ... in difficult situations. And they seem to get resolved. I can only wish you the best in retirement, spending more time with your kids and grandkids.” Pederson noted that Pine City’s program has been used as a model for other communities. “Things will go on here,” Pederson said. “Hopefully
we’ll continue to build and grow in the ... fire marshal duties. But I just want to say, thank you so much for your service to our community.”
“I want to thank you,” Hill said. “It was an honor.”