McLaughlin joined Elk Creek, which serves about 15,000 residents across 98 square miles in Jefferson and Park counties, in 2012, just a few months prior to the Lower North Fork Fire. He officially announced his resignation Thursday during an Elk Creek Fire board meeting. Deputy Chief Jacob Ware will step in as acting chief, according to a press release from Elk Creek.
Ware, a Conifer resident, started with Elk Creek in 2003 as a volunteer. He became a paid firefighter in 2008, ultimately working his way up to deputy chief. Since he was next in the chain of command, the board of directors agreed he should take over.
The timeline and plan for officially replacing McLaughlin are not set in stone. Ware said the board is still in the process of deciding how to move forward.