West Dundee names local man fire chief
West Dundee didn't have to look far for its next fire chief.
On Monday night, village officials tapped Randy Freise to be the next fire chief. "I'm coming back to my hometown and I plan on finishing my career with the department that I started with. It's an exciting thing and I'm really looking forward to getting started," said Freise, who began his firefighting career 33 years ago as a volunteer firefighter.
In 1980, Freise, 57, was hired as one of the department's first full-timers and eventually became a part-time lieutenant. In 1983, he was hired as a firefighter in Palatine, but also stayed on in West Dundee until 2009 when he retired from the department after being promoted to deputy chief in Palatine.
He was born and raised in East Dundee, and lived in West Dundee for 20 years, where he also raised his family.
Freise is retiring from Palatine to take the job in West Dundee and replaces Fred Buhrmann, who retired in October.
Village President Larry Keller said the village spent about $10,000 launching a national search this summer -- after Buhrmann announced his retirement last year. The search identified 120 candidates that were reduced to 15, nine and then four. Village trustees interviewed the final four in November.
Keller said Freise's experience in the village made him stand out.
"He's coming home," Keller said. "He's a known commodity in terms of the village but he always showed himself extremely well in terms of his knowledge and understanding of the fire services and the nuances of West Dundee."
One of the challenges of working in West Dundee will be trying to provide the best level of service for fire and emergency medical services with reduced manpower, Freise said.
His first day is Jan. 9.