Four fire officials — two from California and two from Iowa — are vying to become Ashland's next fire chief.

Four fire officials — two from California and two from Iowa — are vying to become Ashland's next fire chief.

All four were in town Monday for interviews and were to be interviewed by two panels of City Council and community members today.

"It looks like we've got four very qualified candidates and that have been carefully vetted," Mayor John Stromberg said Monday.

The city hired a recruiter to help find its next top fire official when Keith Woodley retired from the position in December, after 17 years with Ashland Fire & Rescue.

The salary for the position starts in the low $100,000 range and includes a retirement plan, health benefits and use of a vehicle for city business, according to the city brochure on the position.

The finalists in town now are David Burns, an employee of the Iowa State Department of Homeland Security and Disaster Relief and a former fire chief in Ankeny, Iowa; John Karns, deputy fire chief in Beverly Hills, Calif.; Larry Squiers, fire chief in Marshalltown, Iowa; and Scott Ventura, division fire chief and fire marshal in Palm Springs, Calif.

The speeches the applicants made Monday afternoon were recorded and will be broadcast on RVTV's Channel 14 at 4 p.m. today, and on the station's Channel 9 at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday.

— Ashland Daily Tidings