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SKFR's Wayne Senter named as state's top fire chief
Before Wayne Senter came to South Kitsap Fire and Rescue, he and the late Dan Packer — an East Pierce County Fire and Rescue chief — were good friends until a tragic accident in 2008 claimed Parker’s life.
Last month, Senter was honored as the state’s top fire chief at the 81st Washington State Fire Chiefs Conference in Yakima. The South Kitsap Fire and Rescue chief was presented the Dan Packer Fire Chief of the Year Award by association President Murray Gordon and Executive Director Mike Brown, a former SKFR fire chief.
The honor is awarded by a committee representing Washington’s Fire Commissioners, volunteer firefighters, professional firefighters and fire chiefs throughout the state.
The award was named after Packer was killed in northern California while fighting a large wildfire through state mutual aid in 2008.
The award is extremely special to Senter.
“Dan was a good friend of mine,” Senter said. “I knew Dan before he went to work with East Pierce.”
He said the award brought back a lot of memories of Packer and his memorial service.
“It is a little bit special when the award is named after a good friend of yours that has passed away,” said Senter, who started with SKFR as an assistant fire chief in 1997.
Senter later succeeded Brown as SKFR’s fire chief.
Before coming to SKFR, Senter was the fire marshal for the Auburn Fire Department where he started his fire service career as a firefighter and emergency medical technician in 1979.
He was recognized for his work on stovetop fire safety with the Underwriters Laboratory Fire Council, and accreditation and credentialing with the Center for Public Safety Excellence Board.
Senter, a West Seattle High School graduate, is the president of the Kitsap County Fire Chiefs Association, past president of Port Orchard Rotary International, past president of Washington Fire Chiefs Association and co-founder and past president of the IAFC Fire and Life Safety Section.
In 2006, Senter was named Man of the Year through the Port Orchard and South Kitsap Chamber of Commerce.
Senter thanked his peers for recognizing his professional contributions and then highlighted Dan Packer’s qualities of leadership, action and humility.
“I am working on my 34th year — all in the state — and it’s an honor to be recognized by my peers and colleagues, and I appreciate that,” Senter said.