Benny Thurston, formerly of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety, was selected by the Miner Board of Alderman to become the city's new fire division chief. Thurston replaces Randy Baker who resigned from the position.
"I'm looking forward to the challenges and working with Miner," said Thurston. "As fire chief out here the biggest challenge is equipment - updating the equipment - and the learning of codes to do the code enforcement job."
Hired by the Board Sept. 15, the position also includes serving as the city's code enforcement officer and building inspector.
Born in Pulaski, Ill., Thurston worked for the Cairo Police Department from 1974-1979. "Then in '79 I came to Sikeston," he said. "I was a detective from 1980-1984 and from 1988-1997 I was a sergeant." In 1997, he began serving as a field training officer.
The Sikeston Department of Public Safety provided the opportunity to do fire fighting along with police work. "That's why I came to Sikeston," said Thurston. "It was always something I was interested in doing and I started helping the Cairo Fire Department with some things."
Thurston retired from the Sikeston DPS effective Sept. 23 to become Miner's fire division chief.
The position may also allow Thurston to continue working in law enforcement as well. "I'm a commissioned officer, I'll be helping them out," he said. "I won't be on the regular rotation on the police side but I will be someone to call on."
The Miner Fire Department presently has a crew of 20 volunteers, according to Thurston. "We have two pumpers and two brush trucks," he said.
Thurston said Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 5-11 this year and extended an invitation to members of the public to visit the fire station during this time.