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Lauer elected new Libby fire chief

by WILL LANGHORNE
The Western News | April 6, 2021 7:00 AM

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Steve Lauer, then assistant fire chief, oversees suppression efforts at a trailer fire Jan. 26. Firefighters with the Libby Volunteer Fire Department elected Lauer fire chief April 1. (Will Langhorne/The Western News)

The Libby Volunteer Fire Department saw a changing of the guard during their annual elections held April 1.

Firefighters voted in Steve Lauer, former assistant fire chief, as the new fire chief. Scott Beagle, former second assistant fire chief, is now the first assistant chief. Ryan Andreessen replaced Beagle as the second assistant chief.

Firefighters elected Ryan Carpenter as fire investigator, John Hibbs as secretary, Eric Uithof as treasurer and Kyle Keller as fire prevention officer.

Tom Wood, former fire chief, confirmed the results.

Wood said he stepped down from his position due to physical infirmities. He intends to stay on with the department at least until August when he will hit 50 years of service. The veteran fire chief expressed full confidence in the new slate of department officers.

“From the bottom of my heart they are going to do great,” he said.

As a child, Wood dreamed of becoming fire chief after seeing his father hold the position. Now, he said he is proud to see another member of his family, Beagle, his son-in-law, climb the fire hall ranks.

Wood said he plans to assist Lauer with administrative matters as the new chief settles into his position.

As second assistant fire chief, Andreessen will assume Beagle’s responsibilities as the department’s training officer. While he will continue serving as an incident commander on scene at fires, Beagle said his appointment as assistant fire chief means his general duties have become more administrative.

All active firemen in good standing with the department are eligible to vote during the volunteer group’s annual elections. Recruits are put on a six-month probationary period before they become full members and can vote, according to Beagle.