New Helena fire chief Campbell says department is in good shape

Jon Campbell
Posted at 6:09 PM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 21:27:37-05

HELENA — Helena’s new fire chief says the department is in good shape, and he’s excited to take it forward.

“I’m just very thankful for the opportunity and humbled to be in this position,” said Jon Campbell.

City leaders announced Campbell as the next chief on Wednesday. He will officially take over the position next Monday.

Campbell has already been leading the Helena Fire Department on an interim basis since Oct. 1, when former chief Ken Wood retired.

“It’s an educational experience to get to walk a mile in the shoes of the position that you’re applying for,” he said.

Campbell joined HFD in October 2020, serving as assistant chief of training. Prior to that, he spent 16 years with the Kalispell Fire Department, starting as a firefighter-paramedic and rising to assistant chief of operations. He has extensive experience in training, including six years with Montana State University’s Fire Services Training School.

Campbell says his first priority as chief will be completing a new master plan for the department.

“That document and the plan therein will be a big driving outline for what the new fire chief gets to do and build consensus around in the years to come,” he said.

Campbell was born in Colorado, but has lived in Montana for more than 20 years. His wife is a Montana native, and they have two daughters, ages 13 and 11.

He says he’s been impressed with the Helena community and their support of first responders.

“I look forward to serving the community and city government for years to come,” he said.

The city interviewed five applicants for the chief’s job. Campbell was one of two finalists.