Fire district boosts ranks

Filling open positions created by both restructuring and departures, South Kitsap Fire and Rescue hired four new firefighters last month, boosting the number of first-responders available and the number of women on staff.

Chief Wayne Senter said two new firefighter positions were created when the jobs of public information officer and fire inspector were eliminated from the district in February.

“We cannot keep up with the increased number of calls, and we must re-organize to improve our response times,” Senter said at the time, explaining that both laid-off employees would be placed on paid administrative leave until March 31, and two new firefighters hired April 1.

In the meantime, Senter said, a third vacancy was created when one SKF&R firefighter moved to Tukwila, then a fourth when former Deputy Fire Chief Gary Faucett left the district last month to become chief of Snohomish County Fire District 8 in Lake Stevens.

Two promotions followed Faucett’s departure, as Senter said Dan Olson was named the district’s new deputy chief, and Steve Wright was promoted to battalion chief.

Two of the new firefighters were already on duty as of last week.

The first, South Kitsap resident Leif Anderson, started out with SKF&R in 1998 as a volunteer and moved on to firefighting jobs in Snoqualmie and Eastside, which includes Maple Valley, Duvall and Bellevue.

The second, Jamel Linsey, comes to SKF&R from the City of Sunnyside Fire Department near Yakima, and recently served in the Middle East as a combat medic for the U.S. Army.

The last two are awaiting final clearance and finishing up training, Senter said.

South Kitsap resident Ed Seibold, a volunteer firefighter recently hired as a career staffer, is currently training at Bates State Fire Academy. His most recent position was as manager of the McDonald’s Restaurant on Mile Hill Drive.

The fourth new firefighter, Laine Hogle, comes to SKF&R after fours years with the Burlington Fire Department. Once the necessary background checks are completed, Hogle said her first shift is scheduled for May 13.

With the added staff, the number of firefighters available each shift has been increased from 13 to 15.

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