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SELMA – It was an emotional farewell for retiring Selma Fire Chief Mike Kain at the May 7 City Council meeting. Surrounded by family and his fire department staff, Kain said despite it being a demanding, 24-hour-a-day job, he’s thoroughly loved his firefighting career.

“To get paid to do what you love, that’s what makes it worth it. I call those people in the blue uniforms my family and it’s been a great career. I look forward to babysitting,” he said during a ceremony at the meeting.

Councilwoman Yvette Montijo presented Kain with a plaque and said it will be difficult to find a replacement who cares as much about the city.

“When a person retires and they’ve had a long career, you look back and it’s easy to see all the quantifiable items in his career,” she said of such achievements as his years of services, number of fires he’s worked, staff he’s trained and promoted and mutual aid provided up and down the state. What can’t be measured, Montijo said, is his dedication.

“It’s all those 1,001 things that you do every single day that support, enhance and make Selma the safest place to be in terms of fire safety.”

Montijo also acknowledged the sacrifices his family has made over the years.

“This isn’t just for you but for every single person standing next to you,” she said of his family. His wife, Cheryl Kain, daughter Meagan, granddaughter Olivia, son Matthew Kain and grandson Aidan were in attendance.

“We know the sacrifices you’ve given as a family for him to serve us so we thank you as well.”

Kain touted the accomplishments his department has been able to achieve during his tenure and said the staff will be in good hands under the leadership of Robert Petersen who will serve as the interim division chief. Most recently, the Selma Fire Department was given a fire engine by the State of California to use locally and on service calls throughout California.

“This is something I’d been working on for years and years. You’ve got to be recognized as reputable for the state to give you a fire engine for free. We accomplished that, and I’m very proud of that,” Kain said.

Kain said the Council has increased the Fire Department’s fleet over the years and through its partnership with American Ambulance, residents are covered all year long.

“I’d put our EMS services against any in the nation. The citizens have paramedics covering them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year both on ambulances and fire trucks. That’s unheard of in a city our size. Thank you for allowing us to do that.”

Kain said the department has also received one of the best ratings by the International Organization for Standardization in the nation.

“There are over 50,000 fire departments measured by the [International Organization for Standardization]. Only 3,400 receive a Class III and Selma is one of them. We’re very, very proud of that.”

Interim City Manager Henry Perea said it’s been amazing to work with the fire chief.

“I’ve come from a larger city and then when I came to Selma, I find all the people that are so dedicated in getting the job done. I come to work and he still hasn’t been to sleep all night. I see him taking the turnouts out of his truck. It’s pretty amazing. It was an honor for me to work with you.”

Chamber President Char Tucker also acknowledged Chief Kain’s personal sacrifices made over the decades.

“We know you have probably missed a lot of family dinners and some holidays so we just thank you for your commitment and always being here to serve us.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or

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