Firefighter climbs off the ladder
December 9, 2002
Brian Eakin will still listen to the scanner, but won’t chase ambulances.
Eakin, a battalion chief with Lake Valley Fire Protection District, retired Saturday after about 30 years of being a firefighter.
He plans to pursue his passion of restoring old cars, as well as to ski, hike and mountain bike at Lake Tahoe. Traveling to Europe and Australia are also on the list.
While missing the camaraderie, big calls and paramedic Justin Child’s cooking, Eakin said he won’t miss the politics of the business. He may stay on the commission for Fire Fest, a fall fire safety festival, and will keep the scanner on to listen to events.
“I’ll keep an ear just to hear what I’m missing,” Eakin said. “But I won’t be an ambulance chaser by any means.”
The biggest wildland blaze Eakin responded to was this year’s Gondola fire.
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He doesn’t remember why he wanted to become a firefighter — and fortunately can say his life was never in jeopardy.
“I grew up wanting to be a fireman. I guess I was influenced by friends when I was younger,” he said last week at the district’s central station off Highway 89. “I think a lot of kids grow up thinking this is what they want to do and it never left me.”
Eakin became a firefighter after graduating from California State University, Fresno in the early ’70s. He spent a majority of his career in management. To those interested in becoming a firefighter, Eakin advises paramedic training and education as the keys to success in the firehouse.
“His list of accomplishments on behalf of the district are very long and it will be a tremendous challenge to replace him with someone as capable as Brian,” said Brian Schafer, chief of Lake Valley Fire Protection District.