DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -The City of Duncan officially has a new fire chief, but they didn't have to look far to find him.
After serving six years as deputy fire chief, Dayton Burnside has been promoted. Burnside previously worked at the fire department in Sulphur, Oklahoma, before he joined the crew in Duncan in 2009 as deputy fire chief. When the previous chief retired in 2010, Burnside took on the additional role of interim fire chief.
Burnside says the position has remained vacant since then due to the city's budget woes, but now that things are turning around, the city decided to fill the position.
Duncan made the formal announcement Monday, but the previous Thursday was his first day on the job as the fire chief. Chief Burnside says he's excited to continue his career serving the community he now calls home.
"It's a privilege to work with this dynamic group of firemen that's motivated and dedicated every day, day in and day out," Chief Burnside said.
After more than 15 years of experience fighting fires, Chief Burnside says his new leadership role is something he doesn't take lightly.
"There's always pros and cons with everything, and yes there was deep thoughts and prayers and talks with the family and the firemen themselves. We're a close knit, tight knit, and I take pride listening and hearing their opinions as well. It was a big family decision," Chief Burnside said.
He says there were several other applicants who applied for the position, and while he landed the job, he says it came as a shock to him.
"I don't know that I'm any better than anyone else ma'am. I'm just grateful and appreciative to be afforded this position and working with the great community and fireman. Together we'll lead and continue doing our best," Chief Burnside said.
It's that's optimism that has Chief Burnside eager to share two decades of experience with the City of Duncan.
"The citizens and community of Duncan is great. The people I work with at the city and fire department is great. That's what keeps me coming back and will keep me here for a long time," Chief Burnside said.
Duncan is looking to fill his old position as deputy fire chief, but not until the first of the year.