The La Grande Rural Fire Department is making progress in its search for a new chief.

The fire department’s board of directors has narrowed its list of candidates for the fire chief position to four finalists.

The board is seeking a successor to Larry Wooldridge, who left at the end of December 2018 to take a position as chief of the Tangent Rural Fire Department in Linn County. Wooldridge had been with the La Grande Rural Fire Department for 10-1/2 years, the last nine as its chief.

Craig Krestchmer, assistant chief of the La Grande Rural Fire Department, is leading the fire department until a new chief is named.

“I want to give him credit for stepping up greatly. Everybody (with the fire department) has stepped up (to fill in during the absence of a fire chief),” said Sharon Hohstadt, chair of the La Grande Rural Fire Department’s board.

Six people applied for the chief’s position — four from Eastern Oregon, one from Missouri and another from South Dakota. Each of the four finalists has been interviewed in Island City by one of two interview teams.

See complete story in Friday's Observer