The Gazette reports that Billings Fire Chief Paul Dextras will retire on Wednesday, July 5 after nine years in that position.  Assistant Fire Chief Bill Rash will become the interim chief until a permanent successor for Dextras is chosen by the new city administrator, whom the City Council will select this fall.  According to City Administrator Tina Volek, Dextras worked hard to improve the safety of the citizens of Billings and the employees of the department, providing leadership and experience.

In nine years as chief, Dextras added five new firefighter positions, a second training officer and a variety of programs ranging from officer development training to a computerized incident command program.  The city bought two new engines and a ladder truck as well as two squad trucks, allowing Billings Fire Department crews to respond to emergencies more quickly.