WEST POINT -- North Davis District Fire Chief Roger Bodily is not ready to hang up his firefighter helmet, even though he has put in 42 years with the department.
Bodily's last day with the fire district was Friday. Today he will still carry the title "chief" as he steps into his new role as the fire chief for Riverdale.
"I still feel like I have a lot of years left," said Bodily, who is 60.
Bodily said he told the North Davis Fire District Board he planned to retire in June, and then the Riverdale fire chief position came open. Under Utah law, if Bodily retires and starts receiving his state retirement benefits, he could not work in the fire industry for one year.
Bodily said he is looking forward to going to Riverdale. The fire department is slightly smaller and the city's population is smaller than in West Point and Clearfield, but the city has a larger commercial base.
"Basically, it's the same job," Bodily said.
Bodily started with Clearfield Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter right after he graduated from Clearfield High School in 1970. He had a full-time job at a lumber yard and also was a full-time student at Weber State College. He planned to be an architect, but "descriptive geometry threw me for a loop," Bodily said.
Bodily joined the fire department because his boss, Marshall McEntire, suggested it.
"He said I should get involved in the community," Bodily said.
Bodily grew up in a house at the top of Center Street in Clearfield, just a few blocks east of the fire station. When the fire bell clanged, Bodily said, he would run and watch to see which way the fire engines would go. If they turned to head west through Clearfield, he would go back to whatever he was doing. But if they turned east, he jumped on his bike and followed the engines.
Back in 1970 when Bodily joined the fire department, he received training on the job.
Back then, either his home phone or his work phone would ring twice to let him know firefighters were needed.
The volunteers would answer the call and dispatchers would let them know where the fire was.
One of his first house fire calls was to a home on Lakeview Drive where the basement was engulfed in smoke and fire.
He drove to the fire station, put on a heavy, fiberglass black fire helmet and a black turnout coat, made out of canvas duck material. He did not have bunker pants or boots.
The air pack was just basically "a bottle that delivered air to your face" without the advanced gadgets on today's air packs, and he crawled on his hands and knees, wearing just jeans and sneakers.
"It was a scary situation for a young kid," Bodily said.
When asked why he continued as a firefighter, Bodily said, "It gets in your blood. It's hard to let that go."
Bodily was chief when West Point and Clearfield decided to create the North Davis Fire District, eliminating Clearfield Fire Department.
The fire department has evolved to the point where it has part-time and full-time employees, with seven firefighters staffing the two fire stations -- four at Clearfield and three firefighters at West Point -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It also has signed automated mutual aid agreements with surrounding area fire departments, so no matter where a fire is, at least 14 to 15 firefighters arrive at the scene.
"This has been the most rewarding job," Bodily said. "I love helping people on the worst day of their lives."