Fire Chief McFarland Retiring Amid Humorous Quips – May 18, 2012
ARCATA – Arcata Fire Protection District Fire Chief John McFarland has announced to his Board of Directors that he will retire at the end of the year.
McFarland humorously quipped to Board Chairman John Davis that his retirement would be “the end of the world,” citing December 21st as his last day serving as Arcata’s Fire Chief.
McFarland concludes forty six years in the Fire Service having started as a Volunteer Firefighter with Arcata on December 16, 1966 while attending Humboldt State University.
McFarland was hired by the City of Eureka Fire Department after graduation in 1970 and served in every rank in the Department until 2002 when he retired for the first time as Fire Chief. McFarland left the City of Eureka to allow his son, Matt, who had been serving as a Eureka Volunteer Firefighter to be hired by Eureka Fire Department.
McFarland’s first attempt at retirement lasted only one day as he was immediately hired as Chief of the Crescent Fire Protection District in Crescent City where he served until October 2005. While in Crescent City, McFarland created the Del Norte Fire Academy at College of the Redwoods with City Chief Steve Wakefield. Upon departing Crescent Fire, McFarland was retained to work one day a week for the first year with Crescent City Chief Wakefield. The conclusion was that the Crescent Fire Board and City Council would jointly appoint Wakefield to replace McFarland by filling both the City and District Fire Chief’s positions.
In 2005 Arcata recruited McFarland to return as Arcata’s new Fire Chief to fill the vacancy created by Chief Dave White’s retirement. This was a monumental change in the culture of Arcata Fire – McFarland was the first Arcata Fire Chief selected from a group of applicants that included career firefighter applicants from across the State instead of by a popular vote of the Volunteer Association. After a 39 year tour of the Northcoast regions Fire Departments and two retirements, McFarland returned to Arcata – this time after enjoying a two day retirement. Having made the full circle – he claims to have attained ‘compass’.
McFarland thanked the Board for their continued support and for allowing him to serve as Arcata’s Fire Chief. McFarland is unsure how long this retirement will last but believes in “any excuse for a party.” When asked “what’s next”? He replied that he still has a full list to accomplish before stepping out the door and that he’s also waiting to see what happens on the 21st. Retirement planning will have to wait until the 22nd.
Arcata Fire will start an immediate search for a new Chief to replace McFarland. McFarland has been asked to assist in the process of selecting his replacement. He said the announcements are ready to go and have a filing deadline of August 15th. You may check out the Arcata Fire Chief recruitment announcement at arcatafire.org.