Long time Burton fire chief dies at age 74 - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Long time Burton fire chief dies at age 74

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BURTON (WJRT) -

(03/04/14) - A beloved member of the Mid-Michigan fire fighting community has passed away. Doug Halstead, who was the Burton fire chief for 17 years, died surrounded by his family after a long battle with a type of cancer.

Seventy-four-year-old Doug Halstead was devoted to fire fighting. From his years with the Flint fire department to his time leading Burton fire fighters, he saved lives and made hundreds of friends.

Fire fighters turned to Halstead for advice professionally, but they sought his opinion on private issues, too.

"He's been a leader and friend to all of us at some point in time. He's all held our hands through some type of tough decision. From some chief to the lowest firefighter, he'd take care of everybody," said Bill Mahler, Burton deputy fire chief.

As a young man, Halstead was a Navy photographer, but he hit his stride as a firefighter. It was his leadership that made him stand out.

"Every time I had an issue or a problem, not sure I was going in the right direction, I could always wander into Doug's office. He always so full of wisdom and advice. And you always walked out of there feeling really good about the decision you were going to make and getting through difficult times," said Tom Osterholzer, Burton Police Chief.

Osterholzer will serve as the interim fire chief until a replacement can be named. Flags in Burton are flying at half staff.

"What an incredible man. I could only pray that I could have such style and such grace in my last days. But he passed at home with his family around him," said Paula Zelenko, Burton mayor.

"He loved what he did and he loved people," Mahler said.
 
Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Allen Funeral Home in Davison. Burton is planning for a large memorial service, perhaps this Friday. Hundreds of police officers and fire fighters are expected to attend.

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