New Fire District 3 chief gets his badge

H.L. “Rusty” Palmer was sworn in by administrative assistant Paula Schuler on Monday night as the new fire chief of Island County Fire District 3.

Palmer, 57, the former fire chief of the Jackson Hole, Teton County, Wyo. fire department, agreed in November to a three-year contract to replace Chief Dan Stout, who retires next month.

The standing room only ceremony attended by about 50 people followed a special meeting of the fire commissioners at the Freeland Fire Station.

Palmer has spent his entire 33-year fire-service career with the Jackson Hole department.

He started as a volunteer, and after 10 years joined the paid staff and began moving up.

He had been chief at Jackson Hole since 2006.

Stout, 66, is retiring after 43 years in various fire services, the past five with the South End district.

An open house for Stout will follow this Thursday’s regular fire commissioners’ meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. at the Freeland Fire Station.

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