City fire chief for Champaign resigns office

By Angelina Cole

Champaign City Fire Chief David Penicook submitted his resignation Friday. According to a press release, Penicook’s resignation is scheduled to become effective Dec. 28 and he is looking forward to spending more time with his family after nearly 40 years as a firefighter.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as fire chief,” Penicook said in his resignation announcement. “I am proud of our department and the high quality of service it provides. We have an outstanding group of men and women.”

Penicook began working for the city of Champaign in November 2004 and previously served as fire chief for Klamath County Fire District No. 1 in Klamath Falls, Ore. Since beginning his career with the fire service in Normal in 1969, Penicook has also held positions with departments in Central Point, Ore., and Medford, Ore.

Penicook said he counts the planning, construction, staffing and opening of Fire Station 6 in southwest Champaign among his accomplishments as chief. Responding to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005 is also among his most challenging moments as a firefighter.

“I especially appreciated Dave’s emphasis on public education, his interest in strengthening the Fire Explorer Program to build interest in the fire service among young people and his encouragement for the Emergency Services Support Team, which provides support for fire victims,” said Steve Carter, city manager to Penicook.

Carter indicated that no decision has been reached regarding an interim chief. The national recruitment search will begin immediately and the selection of a new chief is planned for next spring.