The Huntley Fire Protection District didn't have to look far to find its next chief.
Deputy Fire Chief Ken Caudle, a 13-year department veteran, has been tapped to lead the district into the future.
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Caudle, 44, a Crystal Lake resident, has been in the industry for 25 years.
He started out as a part-time firefighter in McCook, and worked his way through the ranks to become a deputy fire chief after 10 years.
He left McCook in 2000 for Huntley. The opportunities in the village, he said, were endless.
"It was getting ready to explode population wise, it was just a small department that was getting ready to get real big," Caudle said.
In Huntley, Caudle began as a firefighter. Over the years, he was promoted to lieutenant, captain, deputy chief and, now, chief.
Caudle has filled every rank and leadership role in Huntley, including the role of accreditation manager when the district received its Accredited Fire Department Status in 2009, as well as project manager for construction of Huntley's last fire station, the first green station in the county.
Caudle will replace Chief Jim Saletta, who announced his retirement in August. Saletta will be stepping down Nov. 2 and Caudle assumes his new post the next day.
Caudle says the addition of the full interchange at Route 47 and Interstate 90, and Centegra's new hospital in Huntley will present additional challenges, but that it's nothing the district can't handle.
The district did not run a full search and opted to promote from within.
The fire protection district covers 65 square miles in Huntley, parts of Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Hampshire, Gilberts and unincorporated Kane and McHenry counties.
The district has 55 full-time firefighters and 25 part-timers.
Caudle and the district are in the midst of contract negotiations, which include how much Caudle will receive as chief.