It is with deep sadness to inform you that retired Fire Chief Dan West succumb to his illness on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012. HFD would like to extend our deepest and heart felt condolances to his wife Brenda, daughter Jennifer, as well as his entire family. Dan had battled aggressive renal cancer for the last six months.
Dan joined our department in the mid 1970’s as a volunteer and quickly rose through the ranks, even earning the Firefighter of the Year award in 1978. As it turned out, he found his calling in the fire service and decided to make it his career. In the early 1980’s, Dan was hired on with the Fort Wayne Fire Department. Even though he was now was a full time career firefighter, he remained very active on our department. So active in fact, that in 1987, Dan was elected Fire Chief. He served as chief for the next five years until stepping aside in 1992. During his time as chief, he began our transition from a mostly rural department to a more suburban one. He was a big proponent of the incident command system as well as more emphasis on training and fire fighter safety.
Dan was a natural leader and had the quintessential “command presence”. That command presence was obvious to anyone, weather it was in his actions, his body language and especially his voice. He just had a voice that exuded authority and respect. After stepping down as chief, he returned to the rank of Captain, his first true passion. He loved leading firefighters into battle. Also during this time, he took on a special project with our department. In 1992, we reclaimed ownership of our 1929 Model A engine. It was in very sad shape and needed a complete restoration. Dan and fellow former Fire Chief Bob Bremer took on the challenge. By 1994 he and Bob had completely restored “Old number 2” to in service condition.
Dan retired from both Fort Wayne And Huntertown Fire Departments in 2006 and moved to Florida. His contributions to our community will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Chief.