Former Fayetteville Fire Chief David Dayringer dies at 68

David Carter Dayringer (Fayetteville Fire Department)

David Dayringer, who served as Fayetteville’s Fire Chief for nine years, has died. He was 68.

Dayringer died early Tuesday, Feb. 21, according to a statement released on the department’s social media.

Dayringer served as a fire marshal and deputy chief for the Tulsa Fire Department, where he worked for 28 years before moving to the Fayetteville position in January 2010. While in Tulsa, he also worked as a firefighter, fire equipment operator, fire captain, local union president and training chief.

Dayringer’s plans to retire were announced in May 2019. His last day on the job was June 21, 2019. He replaced Tony Johnson, and was succeeded by Brad Hardin.

When Dayringer was hired, Mayor Lioneld Jordan said he was a perfect fit for the job.

“In 2010, I was looking for a fire chief candidate who could fulfill three goals: to take the department to the next level, to take a leadership role in the region and the state, and to develop the skills of those within the chain of command,” said Jordan in 2019. “I am proud to say than Chief Dayringer has done so, above and beyond even my expectations.”

Jordan called Dayringer’s work in the upgrading of the city’s Public Protection Classification (PPC) a “momentous achievement.” PPCs are used by insurance companies to calculate premiums for residential, commercial, and industrial properties. The Insurance Service Office (ISO) scores communities on their ability to respond to fires. Under Dayringer’s watch, the fire department worked with several internal departments to upgrade Fayetteville from a Class 4 to Class 2 rating in 2014. The city later received the best possible rating of Class 1 in early 2018.

Jordan said Dayringer was intent on creating opportunities for department staff. Shortly after being hired, he changed procedures for female firefighters, creating inclusive roles and duties during pregnancy. He established a labor and management cooperation committee with the local firefighters union and included formal college education as a requirement for promotion in the Civil Service Regulations. For recruiting, he switched to the National Testing Network and Candidate Physical Ability Test to publicize Fayetteville employment opportunities across the country to attract more diverse candidates.

Dayringer updated Fayetteville’s Emergency Operations Plan and initiated quarterly training exercises for the Emergency Operations Team, which is composed of staff from all departments and divisions. He also established a permanent, full-time financial analyst position in the fire department with additional focus on securing grants.

Under Dayringer’s leadership, the fire department received numerous grants, including over $1 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program. The grants allowed the department to purchase wildland firefighting gear, specialized washers and dryers that remove carcinogens from gear, lighting equipment, and a system to refill breathing air tanks while on the scene of a fire. In 2016, grant funds were used to build a training simulator in southeast Fayetteville. The facility is six stories tall with more than 7,000 square feet of working floor space. It provides a safe environment for firefighters from around the region to practice firefighting skills.

Dayringer was a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program and a Chief Fire Officer Designate from the Commission on Professional Credentialing. He was a member in the Institution of Fire Engineers and was a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician. Recently served as chairman of the Washington County Regional Ambulance Authority, chairman of the Arkansas Fire Protection Services Board and represented the Arkansas Association of Fire Chiefs on the Southwestern Division Board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He served as president of the Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association from 2013 to 2018.

Jordan said Dayringer was one of the humblest people he’d ever met, and called him a genuine example of a true servant leader.

“I am proud to have been able to work with him,” said Jordan.

No plans have yet been made for funeral services.