Atascadero fire captain takes over as interim chief in Templeton

A longtime captain with the Atascadero Fire Department will lead the Templeton Fire Department while the Community Services District continues its search for a permanent fire chief.

The move comes after a series of changes for the small North County community’s 25-member volunteer fire department that’s been without a permanent leader since 2012.

Keith Aggson, who will continue to work with the city of Atascadero, will be paid $50 an hour to be the department’s interim fire chief, working up to 20 hours per week on his days off, according to Templeton Community Services District office. Aggson started June 3.

The firefighters have been without a permanent chief since Jim Langborg left to start a new fire department in Texas in November 2012.

Up until the beginning of this year, assistant fire chief Rod Hewitt, who retired from the fire department in 2011, came back to run the department. But he had to leave in January because of restrictions on the number of hours a state employee can work after retirement.

After Hewitt left, Steven Negro, the former fire chief for the Salinas Rural Fire Department, stepped into the interim role. But he recently left because of “personal reasons,” according to the Community Services District office.

The recruitment for a permanent fire chief is currently underway, officials said. The deadline to apply is July 14.

Aggson said in a statement that he looks forward to leading the fire department during its transition toward “a more efficient and effective firefighting force.”