Newfire fighters bring district up to speed

Published on Thu, Nov 9, 2006 by Jack Kintner

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New fire fighters bring district up to speed

By Jack Kintner

Fire stations in Birch Bay and Semiahmoo came a step closer to being staffed by career firefighters Tuesday night following the apparent passage of three measures designed to both streamline district operations and raise the levy rate.

That’s according to chief Tom Fields of North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Services (NWFRS), who said that while he “had to be careful” making predictions, he said that if the requests to raise the levy lids passed in Fire Districts 13 and 3 and District 3 also approved a merger with 13, “then we can begin looking at staffing the Birch Bay-Lynden station and Semiahmoo.”

Fields added that he also wanted 24/7 staffing at the main station in district 3 at 307 19th Street in Lynden, a station that covers 90 square miles but currently is staffed five days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The three measures that would help make this possible all seemed to be winning at press time – district 13 voters gave their levy increase 65 percent approval, while district 3 voters approved a proposed merger with district 13 by a lopsided 77 percent. District 3 was less enthusiastic about raising their levy lid, but it was ahead 1,194 to 1,167. All three measures require a simple majority to pass.

It’s the first increase in staff since March of 2002, Fields said, and brings NWFRS up to 18 full time career firefighters, three staff, three administrators and 85 volunteers.

Newly hired firefighters include Doug Kreider, 34; Chuck Shipp, 34; Jason Adams, 27; John Hollstein, 25; Adam Smith, 22; and Christopher Foy, 30.