A fire chief's day isn't always spent battling blazes, as two fifth-graders from Granite District's Hill View Elementary found out recently.

Peter Jensen and Molly Janke were county fire chief and administrative assistant, respectively, for a day under a new Salt Lake County Fire and Paramedic Division program.Through classroom visits, "Fire Chief for a Day" aims to educate children about fire service management. The program is an extension of the county's fire prevention education efforts in local schools.

"Chief Larry Hinman and I go to the class and talk about what we do, as opposed to what a line firefighter does," said division administrative assistant Jann T. Nixon.

Students are then invited to write a short essay on "Why I Would Like to Be Fire Chief (or Administrative Assistant) for a Day." Those whose essays are judged best by their teacher get to spend a day on the job with Hinman and Nixon.

"Everybody in our class wanted be picked," for the honors, Molly said.

Molly and Peter were made honorary volunteer firefighters and introduced to the administrative side of fire service. They attended meetings, learned about budgets and contracts, met county commissioners and toured a fire station.

"This place is really cool," pronounced Molly, after touring division headquarters. "Yeah, neat," echoed Peter.

Molly, whose winning essay promised she would "supervise the workers as if they were my own kids," said the meetings were boring and there was too much paperwork - something all government workers might agree with.

Peter, who found listening to emergency paramedic calls on the division's radio frequency especially exciting, said he was considering a career in fire service as a result of the experience.

When the pair were asked about their favorite part of the day, the opinion was unanimous: "Lunch!"