Palatine Rural fire chief may take leave of absence to take national position

  • Chief Hank Clemmensen

    Chief Hank Clemmensen

Updated 6/17/2011 5:34 AM

The 17,000 residents who reside within the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District's 17-square-mile service area may temporarily get a new fire chief.

Chief Hank Clemmensen has been elected president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs for a 1-year term effective August 2012.


Since the role requires a ton of travel -- he expects to be on the road 300 days of the year -- he'll likely take a 10-month leave of absence from work at the Inverness fire station on Ela Road.

The district's fire board would name an interim fire chief to take his place, an arrangement worked into the three-year contract Clemmensen recently signed to continue as Palatine Rural's chief.

"I'm excited for the opportunity," said Clemmensen, the district's chief since 2001. "It's a huge learning curve but it'll be a lot of fun."

The Fairfax, Va.-based International Association of Fire Chiefs represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide with just under 14,000 members. Clemmensen said it's heavily involved in federal legislation and professional development.

His election is actually a four-year commitment. Currently the second vice president, Clemmensen will serve as VP beginning this summer, president next summer and past president the year after that.