BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL — In 27 years of fighting fires in south Davis County, Jim Rampton believes he has built strong relationships with city and county leaders, business people and members of the community, not to mention within the fire fighting community.
Next month, Rampton, who serves as the South Davis Metro Fire Agency’s chief, will retire from fire service in Davis County, but not from the fire service.
He has taken a job as a battalion chief with the Carpinteria Summerland Fire Protection District in Carpinteria, Calif., near Santa Barbara.
His last day with SDMFA will be May 9.
“We’ve (he and his wife) always wanted to go there,” Rampton said. “We love the water, love the beach.”
Southern California is where his parents moved 23 years ago and his dad has been watching for job opportunities for him there since.
“We’re empty nesters now, and it’s time for us to go,” Rampton said. “We wanted to leave while we could still enjoy it,”
The department he will be with in California is somewhat smaller that South Davis Metro Fire Agency, and his responsibilities will not be that of a chief, perhaps allowing him more time to enjoy the water and the beach.
Even though the timing is right, the move will still be bittersweet, he said.
Rampton started working for the South Davis Fire District in May 1986. The district merged with the Bountiful Fire Department in 2005 and Rampton has been its chief for six years.
“I have 27 years of friendships relative to the fire service,” he said.
In addition to being the SDMFA chief, Rampton is president of the Utah Fire Chiefs’ Association.
“I’ve been involved in a whole lot,” he said. “It will be difficult to leave.”
With Rampton’s departure, there won’t be a member of the Rampton family in the fire service in south Davis County, ending a 91-year old legacy.
Rampton’s grandfather, uncle, and his father have all worked with fire departments in south Davis County.
His grandfather was the first paid fire chief in Bountiful.
But neither Rampton’s son nor nephew have any desire to go into the family business.
“It’s a big legacy to leave,” he said.
Rampton hopes the board of directors of the agency chooses an interim fire chief soon, so he can bring the interim up to speed with things he or she needs to know. But he believes he’s leaving the agency in good hands and in good shape.
“I think it’s in as good a shape as it’s ever been and I wish them nothing but good luck,” he said.