Hull retires as Morton County Fire Chief

Elkhart Tri-State News – March 26, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 15, 2015

morton co fire 4152015

When you grow up in the country like Charlie Hull did; watching the sky, listening to the weather reports and knowing a few old wives tales can keep a man a step or two ahead of whatever may be headed his way. Knowing how to fight a fire is also something else a farm boy needs to know. Hull has put his knowledge and experience to good use for over 40 years as a volunteer firefighter, including the last 26 as the Morton County Fire Chief.

Hull’s last day as chief was Monday, March 16. Around the same time Hull hung up his Judges robe, retiring as the Rolla City Municipal Judge. A position he has had held for 29 years. “It’s a big load off,” Hull commented. “I don’t move as well as I used to. I remember fighting a fire all night and going to work the next day, I can’t really do that anymore.”

When asked how many times he had to leave court to go fight a fire, he said, “I don’t think I ever left in the middle of court, but I have hurried it along a couple of times.”

While big advances in technology haven’t really affected the way fires are fought, Hull said the equipment is a lot better. When Charlie began as a firefighter he volunteered for the City of Rolla; the firefighters had one International truck with a 3-400 gallon tank and a Jeep with a smaller water tank on it. The department now has 3 trucks including a new brush truck with a 5-600 gallon water tank. Richfield currently has two trucks and Elkhart has four.

After serving as the fire chief for the City of Rolla for a couple of years, Charlie and his wife, Jean Ann moved their family to the country. Hull attended Hutchinson Community College and received his Firefighter I and 2 status after becoming the county fire chief. Since that time Hull has fought many fires; and while over time it becomes both physically tiring, it is also mentally exhausting. The most unique fire Hull fought was the Tunner fire in 2011. Fueled by 20 mile per hour winds and gusts at 30 to 35 miles per hour. The fire burned over 20,000 acres of Cimarron National Grassland.

During times of severe drought like what Morton County has seen for several years, Hull kept a tight watch on when to allow burning and when to place the county in a burn ban. “A big part of the fires are man made, carelessness,” Hull said.

This spring brings new adventures for Hull. He has cattle to look after and plenty to do around his house. And while implementing and enforcing burn bans is no longer Charlie’s job, he will still be checking the sky and watching the weather and when the pager goes off, he will go, because it’s what he does, and has done for 40 years.

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