Tag: bellingham fire department
By Caleb Hutton
The Bellingham Fire Department sent out some more info about an “inevitable” merger with Fire District 8 late Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The gist of the situation was covered in this story that ran in today’s paper. But here are a few more points of interest that weren’t in the article:
Between the two agencies, (Fire Chief Roger Christensen) said, four chief-officer-level positions are reduced to three, and additional resources will be directed toward more direct support of street-level service.
Whatcom County Fire Protection District 8 is an independent municipal government led by a five-member elected Board of Commissioners. Fire District 8 covers 23 square miles and has a population of about 9,200 residents. It includes Marietta, most of Gooseberry Point, the Bellingham International Airport and other unincorporated areas north of Bellingham.
In the same press release, Fire Chief Roger Christensen also announced a new hire at a high-ranking position.
City hires new assistant fire chief
Bellingham Fire Department is pleased to announce the selection of William (Bill) Newbold to fill a vacant assistant fire chief position.
Assistant Chief Newbold, who started last week, comes to Bellingham from the Redmond (WA) Fire Department, where he has served for the last 20 years.
“Bill has worked at virtually every level within Redmond’s Fire Department,” Bellingham Interim Fire Chief Roger Christensen said, “including firefighter, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief and deputy chief of emergency medical service.”
Newbold has an extensive educational back ground including a Masters (with honors) in Aerospace Engineering, Associate of Arts in Fire Administration and Command, and has completed the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.
While Newbold has an impressive academic and professional resume, Christensen said, his strongest qualification may have been identified during the reference checking process.
“Virtually everyone contacted described Bill as being exceptionally thoughtful, thorough and collaborative in his approach to problem solving, and described him as being exactly what is needed during difficult times,” he said.
By Caleb Hutton
Roger Christensen, the current interim fire chief of the Bellingham Fire Department, will retire once the city can find his replacement — meaning he won’t be in the running for a permanent job at the head the
Christensen replaced the retiring chief Bill Boyd in October. Before that, Christensen was second-in-command.
He said he hasn’t heard much about who has shown interest in the job — mostly because it hasn’t really been advertised yet. But he’s prepared to step down once Mayor Kelli Linville and her team choose a successor.
“That could be as early as this June, or it could be next June,” he said.
The interim fire chief said he’s notified the proper internal people at the department of his plans.
By Caleb Hutton
BELLINGHAM — Downtown thrift shop Wise Buys will be closed for several weeks because of sprinkler damage from an upstairs apartment fire, the store’s operators announced Thursday, Dec. 20.
Firefighters and police are investigating how the apartment caught fire Saturday. The flames were contained to a single unit, but the water caused a lot more damage than the fire or heat, said Roger Christensen, acting chief of the Bellingham Fire Department.
He wouldn’t say if investigators suspect arson.
“Arson is a finding,” not a label that can be put on an active investigation, he said. Christensen declined to release much information this week. I’ll be checking back soon.
Here’s most of the press release from Wise Buys.
The water damage occurred Saturday, Dec. 15 in response to a fire in an apartment above Wise Buys, located at 1224 N. State St.
Wise Buys is operated by volunteers from Lydia Place, a nonprofit, community-based serving homeless people since 1989. Since Wise Buys is completely run by volunteers, all of its proceeds go to Lydia Place.
“The repairs will be covered by insurance,” said Emily O’Connor, executive director of Lydia Place. “However, much of our merchandise was either damaged or related to the holidays, so we could use donations of gently used clothing and household items when Wise Buys reopens in January.”
Updates about Wise Buys will be available on Lydia Place’s Facebook page and by calling Lydia Place at (360) 671-7663. The public is asked to withhold donations of clothing and household items until the store reopens.
Wise Buys originally was launched in 1974 as Y’s Buys and run by the Bellingham YWCA until Lydia Place assumed operations in the early 1990s.
Lydia Place provides a six-month, multifaceted residential program that supports women and children in their transition from homelessness to independence. Lydia Place also offers support and services for local residents in subsidized housing.
For more information about Lydia Place, call (360) 671-7663 or visit www.lydiaplace.org.
By Caleb Hutton
Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville put out this press release moments ago, announcing a new interim chief for the Bellingham Fire Department.
Down in paragraph five, Linville explains why she’s electing to replace our two retiring chiefs — Police Chief Todd Ramsey Ramsay and Fire Chief Bill Boyd — with two new chiefs, rather than one.
A couple weeks ago we reported the mayor was thinking of replacing Ramsey and Boyd with a single public safety director. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time Linville herself has publicly spoken about the issue.
Here’s the press release:
Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville announced recently her selection of Assistant Fire Chief Roger Christensen as interim chief of the Bellingham Fire Department. He will serve as interim chief beginning Oct. 12 — when Fire Chief Bill Boyd retires — until a permanent replacement is found.
Christensen is a 23-year employee of the Bellingham Fire Department. He has managed various fire and emergency medical services operations during his tenure with department. In 2004, he became Division Chief/Medical Service Officer for Whatcom Medic One and in 2007 was promoted to Assistant Fire Chief, in that position overseeing Whatcom Medic One, the fire/EMS dispatch center and overall department operations. He volunteered as a county firefighter and served as volunteer fire chief for Fire District 14, in addition to working in the private sector, prior to joining the Bellingham Fire Department in 1989.
“Assistant Chief Christensen has extensive experience in the Fire Department and in our community,” Linville said. “He is a skilled, capable leader and will make sure we continue to provide high-quality, responsive and caring emergency services. He also has been involved in many key public safety issues and initiatives, such as discussions about countywide emergency medical services and marina fire safety improvements. He will serve us very well during this time of transition and I am very grateful he is willing to take on this role.”
Boyd announced earlier this month he will retire effective Oct. 12 to take a position in the private sector, while Bellingham Police Chief Todd Ramsay announced his intention to retire at the end of 2012.
Linville also said she expects to move forward fairly quickly to recruit for new fire and police chiefs, expecting to fill both positions using open, competitive processes. She said she hopes to have a new police chief on board when Ramsay leaves at the end of this year, while the process to fill the fire chief position is expected to extend into 2013.
“I will work carefully with Police and Fire staff and bargaining unit representatives, my department head team, City Council, community members and others to look at these two positions, study public safety organizations in other cities, consider our community’s unique needs, and make sure that our next steps provide us with the expertise we need to lead us successfully into the future,” she said.
She said after considering hiring a single public safety director to lead both departments, she’s determined that it is best for Bellingham to continue to have separate chiefs. This is due in part to the size of the departments they manage and the overall size of our community, the lack of demonstrated cost savings in combining these two positions, and the number of pressing, complex public safety issues needing leadership and management attention.
She said that while she intends to continue having two public safety chiefs, she will use the coincidence of the two chiefs retiring to consider ways to streamline overall management and administration of these large departments.
“These retirements present a unique opportunity to consider ways to streamline, such as by sharing more responsibilities between departments and increasing collaboration among staff citywide,” Linville said.