Sun Valley has hired longtime Wood River Fire & Rescue Capt. Rich Bauer as its department’s new assistant chief—a role created to help integrate the Ketchum Rural Fire Protection District into the city’s department this fall.

On May 20, the City Council approved a $300,000 contract for services with Ketchum Rural, taking on a job that Ketchum’s fire department has handled for decades. Starting on Oct. 1, the Sun Valley Fire Department will take on Ketchum Rural’s operations, answer its fire calls, train its personnel, maintain its equipment and generally administer the department.

The Fire District commissioners had previously voted 2-1 to end a longstanding agreement with the city of Ketchum on May 14, opting instead to craft a new one with Sun Valley.

In addition to Bauer, the city plans to hire a fire clerk to maintain records and manage accounts associated with the deal.

“Rich will be an integral part of our leadership team, and lead the transition as we bring the Ketchum Rural Fire District onto our operations,” Sun Valley Mayor Peter Hendricks said.

In his new role, Bauer will have worked for three of the valley’s fire departments. A career firefighter and paramedic, he began working as a paid on-call firefighter for Ketchum in 1994, before moving to Wood River in 1999, where he rose to the rank of captain.

“Sun Valley has a lot of great momentum,” Bauer told the City Council last week. “This is a great opportunity for me to serve the citizens of Sun Valley, and soon, the citizens of Ketchum Rural.”

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