The fire chief of the public-safety district of Highland and Alpine has resigned after 12 years in the post.

Fire Chief John Pool told the district's board of commissioners last week he was stepping down for health reasons from the volunteer on-call position.City administrator John Newman said Pool has contributed a lot to the growth of the 30-member fire department that serves the sister cities in northern Utah County.

For some $200 monthly to pay travel expenses, Pool has doused dozens of fires, recruited a full roster of volunteers and helped find funding for better and more fire-fighting training and equipment, including two new trucks.

"We deeply appreciate all the work he's done. He's brought the department along significantly," Newman said. "John can be proud of his 12 years of service. We sure are."

Pool, a teacher at Alpine Elementary School, has undergone several surgeries on his left knee, making it difficult to keep pace with the time commitment and physical demands of the position.

"I did everything I set out to do," Pool said. "I'm looking forward to the rest."

"I worked with a good crew," he said. "There are a lot of good people who give a lot to the community."

Pool's time at the helm of the department comes to an end as plans are being launched to build a new fire station for the public-safety department, which was formed by the bordering cities on Jan. 1, 1996.

Firefighters in the Highland-Alpine fire district had voiced impatience with city leaders as they debated the merits of renovating the rustic 62-year-old City Hall and adjoining fire station.

Equipment was stored in a shed the state fire marshal deemed unsuitable for public-safety vehicles. It was threatened with condemnation earlier this year.

Newman said the city recently voted to construct a new station at the current space in the 100 block of north Main Street. Voters approved a $500,000 bond issuance for an upgrade of the city center and adjoining fire station in 1995.

Plans had to be approved and money allocated by this summer or taxes would have been levied on the difference between the $50,000 yearly payments and the earned interest of the bond.

A $100,000 grant also was yanked by Utah County last year because Alpine hadn't made progress on the project. Alpine officials sought the money in 1993.

"We've all had frustration getting a fire station and getting going on the project," Newman said. "Architects are saying that by next year at this time it will be done."