Photo by Andrew Richards
South Roxana Fire Chief Todd Werner talks about his role in helping others in the community. Werner was appointed to replace former Fire Chief Ed Allsman in April 2013.
SOUTH ROXANA − Todd Werner’s job priorities do not necessarily put being a hero at the top of the list.
The South Roxana Fire Chief says an important role firefighters play in the lives of those who live in the communities they serve is simply helping people.
“Any time we help someone or get to save a life, it’s obviously a good thing,” Werner said. “Delivering a baby … it’s something that’s quite miraculous to see and be able to do. It’s something that doesn’t happen every day in the fire or EMS (Emergency Medical Service) field but it does happen, probably more often than you would think.”
Werner – who was appointed to the position April 17, 2013, after the retirement of former chief Ed Allsman – said his influence to join the fire service career field came from his brother-in-law, Dennis Kellim, a former Bethalto police officer.
His service to the firefighting profession numbers 23 years.
Werner got his start as a firefighter after obtaining his EMT (Emergency Medical Training) license in 1991.
He served as a volunteer for the Cottage Hills Fire Protection District from 1991 to 1993. He then moved to Fosterburg Fire Protection District, where he stayed until 1996 when he ventured to South Roxana.
“Fire service jobs − as a profession − are hard to come by,” Werner said. “It’s not an easy career to get into. EMS was something I started out at. It was something that was an easier start to get into, to get your foot in the door.”
Werner also works as a full-time paramedic supervisor for Alton Memorial Hospital.
Werner stressed assisting people in any way he can is key to his job as a firefighter and fire chief.
“Any time we can help somebody or do something good for people, it always gives you a little bit of a good feeling,” he said. “We don’t necessarily think of it as heroes. It’s just what we do.”