James Clack retires from firefighting career

James Clack, a 1978 graduate of Park Rapids Area High School, retired after 36 years as a firefighter.

We are part of The Trust Project.

James Clack, a 1978 graduate of Park Rapids Area High School, retired after 36 years as a firefighter. He served as fire chief in three cities during his career.

He began his career as a firefighter in Minneapolis in 1986, later serving as a fire chief for the city. His most memorable experience there was serving as the overall incident commander during the I-35W bridge collapse in 2007.

Clack served as the fire chief in Baltimore, Md. from 2008 to 2013, where he supervised 1,800 firefighters.

The last position he held was fire chief in Ankeney, Iowa from 2014 until Dec. 2022. While there, he designed a new fire station to accommodate the rapid growth in the city.

“Ever since kindergarten I wanted to be a firefighter,” he said. “It’s the best job in the world. You get to help people every day and I loved it.”


He and his wife, Rose, now live in the Hackensack area and look forward to spending more time with family and traveling. “We just love it up here in northern Minnesota,” he said.

For observers in the southern U.S. the moon will cover Mars on Monday night, Jan. 30. Elsewhere we'll see a very close conjunction.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
What To Read Next
Department heads gave a report on the past year or two at a city council workshop on Jan. 24.
Contest winners are determined by judges from award-winning newspapers in other states.
Some members of the team set up the field and gave demonstrations at the Minnesota School Boards Association convention.
The administration is bringing back an Obama-era decision, later reversed by Trump, that bans new mineral leases on 225,500 acres of the Superior National Forest for the next two decades.