At the January meeting of the City of Dalton's Public Safety Commission, Dalton Fire Chief Todd Pangle honored Justin Rishel as the agency's Firefighter of the Year.

Pangle said Rishel's selection for the honor was based on his tireless work ethic and drive to continue becoming a better firefighter.

Rishel joined the Dalton Fire Department in January 2003. During his tenure with the agency, he worked his way to being considered as the senior firefighter on his shift, according to his supervisors. While unofficial, that designation is a term of endearment that shows the respect he's earned from his peers thanks to his knowledge and work ethic. Since moving to the department's Training Division, Rishel has been instrumental in the department's recruit classes and other training programs.

DFD Unit Citation

Pangle presented a Unit Citation to the firefighters of Engine 2-A. The citation was related to their life-saving actions in a Dec. 1 medical call on Ludie Street. Firefighters were sent on a report of a male who was unresponsive without a pulse. When they arrived, they took over CPR and applied an AED (automated external defibrillator). After a shock from the AED, the male regained a pulse and began breathing on his own. He ultimately had a good outcome after being taken to the hospital.

Lt. Jeff Viens and Firefighters Cody Manly and Justin Cole received the honor.

Firefighter honored for off-duty heroics

Pangle also honored Firefighter III Matt Asbell with a certificate for his heroic actions at a Dec. 30 structure fire while he was off duty in Chatsworth.

Asbell was driving in Chatsworth when he saw a column of smoke nearby and went to investigate. When he arrived at the house on Emerald Parkway, he found smoke pouring out of the structure. Asbell checked with neighbors to find out if anyone was at home. They were unsure, so he checked the doors on the house and discovered they were locked. He then kicked in the front door to make entry.

It was a split-level house, so Asbell went downstairs to the first floor and performed a primary search. After determining the first floor was clear, he went upstairs and found heat and fire that forced him to back out of the building.

Units from the Chatsworth Fire Department were arriving, and Asbell met with Capt. Joey Torres and briefed him that the first floor was clear and told him where the fire was.

The Chatsworth Fire Department then took control of the operation. Torres later contacted the Dalton Fire Department to praise Asbell's actions in clearing the first floor, enabling them to go straight to locate and extinguish the fire.

DPD introduces new officer

The Dalton Police Department presented its newest officer for confirmation. Assistant Chief Chris Crossen presented Keidric Johnson to the commission.

Johnson is a 2009 graduate of Gordon Central High School. Before joining the police department, he worked in local industry, most recently serving as an inspector with Shaw Industries at a facility in Adairsville. Johnson recently graduated from the police academy and is now taking part in the police department's field training program, riding with and being evaluated by experienced mentor officers.

Johnson was confirmed by a 4-0 vote of the commissioners present (commission member Keith Whitworth was not present).

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