By CLINT FOSTER
As citizens of Mineral Wells continue to recover after the passing of Robin Allen on Sept. 21, the City of Mineral Wells is doing its due diligence to fill the void she left as the Mineral Wells Fire Chief. City Manager Lance Howerton named Mike Pool interim chief of the department.
Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department Chief Joel Thompson highly recommended Pool, a 30-year veteran of Haltom City Fire/Emergency Medical Services. Pool – who was a lieutenant when he retired from Haltom City – lives in Weatherford, which factored into Howerton's decision.
"We were looking for someone who not only had command experience, but also someone who might be rather conveniently located to Mineral Wells," Howerton said. "I felt that Mike would be a good candidate for us to look at to serve in an interim capacity. Certainly the recommendation Joel Thompson made was significant in making that decision. I think he'll be able to do an extremely good job."
Pool said he is eager to get back into a firefighting role after his retirement in 2012.
"It excites me," he said. "It's a challenge. I'm just here to help. I'm a second-generation firefighter. It's just something that's kind of in my blood."
Howerton said the city is in the process of advertising statewide for a permanent chief. He added Pool will not be excluded from being a candidate for the position of permanent chief, but the city wants to be as thorough as possible in their search to replace Allen.
"We're doing a rather broad and exhaustive solicitation to see what kind of interest there may be in this particular position," he said. "Hopefully that will give us the opportunity to identify the best candidate over the long-term."
Pool said he knew that the fire chief he was taking over for was not just any chief. He recognized that Allen held an extremely important place in the community and said he is not looking to replace her.
"I can't replace her, that's the thing," he said. "I'm not going to try to. I probably have some strengths that she didn't have and she certainly had a lot of strengths that I don't have. We're just trying to move forward. It's a new day. We don't want to forget her. She's made a lot of contributions here. Robin Allen is everywhere in Mineral Wells. There's no way to replace her."