12/29/14 399 W, 1 I - + 12 - 3 News Profile of Retiring Apex Fire Chief Mark Haraway

We recently blogged about incoming Apex Fire Chief Keith McGee, who started working this month. Retiring from thirty-five years in the fire service is Chief Mark Haraway. He's led the department since 2002. The Southwest Wake News published a story today about Chief Haraway. The article is written by Will Doran.

When Chief Haraway started, the town had two career members staffing one piece of apparatus each day. They now have four stations with seventeen people on duty at all times. Haraway oversaw the opening of three stations and the expansion of a roster from six to fifty-six full-time members. (The department has eighty-three members total.)

Despite his hard work with "growth and budget" issues, he's best known for that "three-day incident eight years ago that made international news." On October 5, 2006, a hazardous waste storage site caught fire. The incident at EQ Industrial Services included a release of toxic chemicals that prompted evacuation of 17,000 residents. e.g., half the town. And in the middle night!

Notes the story, "thanks to a disaster plan developed by Haraway and his staff," the evacuation was smooth and neither the fire nor resulting chemical leak killed or seriously injured anyone. The fire department and town's response to the incident was further hailed as "a model for large-scale emergency responses." Chief Haraway traveled the country and gave lectures to other departments, along with the Town Manager and Police Chief.

Haraway was actively involved in all department activities. "There's a not a call in this town that I don't take," he told the reporter. "Because my duties are not only to the personnel but also to their families, to make sure they come home safe." 

He talks about the EQ fire as "one massive close call" and discusses the lessons learned. He also talks about his prior experience, such as his work with the Wilmington Fire Department. After a filming accident that killed one and injured six, he went to Hollywood and University Studios, where he developed safety standards. 

What are his plans for retirement? He's headed to eastern Tennessee and wants to hike every waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Congratulations Chief. Go get them waterfalls!

Read the entire story

Southwest Wake News/Will Doran photo

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