A+ A A-

San Juan Island Fire Chief resigns effective Nov. 23, 2023

LWVSJ Observer Corps Summary of San Juan Island Fire and Rescue Commission's May 9, 2023 meeting. The Commission held an Executive Session, after which they announced they had received a retirement letter from Chief Collins with an effective date of November 23, 2023. The Commission voted to accept the notice of retirement.

During public comment Maureen See asked whether there would be a public interview for the open Commissioner’s position. She said it would be in the best interest of the fire department for the commission to set a date certain when the Chief would leave.

She asked for clear comment on the Hannah Heights water contamination. Paul Hart of the Hannah Heights Neighborhood Association said they are committed to working with the Fire Department as partners. Though not conclusive, it is probable that the source of the contamination is from foam that was used by the Fire Department 20 – 50 years ago.

The Commission said that solutions to address water pollution at Hannah Heights were being sought. The lead agency is the State Department of Ecology and the fire department has been included as an ancillary agency. The Fire staff will keep the commission and the public updated as going forward.

An update was given on plans developed several years ago for a Fire Training Facility that would be available for other fire agencies, emergency medical providers and law enforcement. The Chief negotiated to acquire two acres behind the fire station from the Port in exchange for the Fire Department providing fire services to all Port properties. The cost of the facility was estimated at $550k+ in 2019, but costs are now much higher and a decision to move forward has been tabled due to lack of funding.

The department will take delivery of the SAFEBoat at the end of May and will work with the Sheriff’s Office on the navigation system. The department is seeking financing for the SAFEBoat. Savibank had the best rate at 5.5% on a ten-year note with no prepayment penalties. A motion was made and approved to have the Chief continue to pursue the loan and confirmed that a commissioner would also sign the loan. The public will help name the boat.

For April there were 60 responses. Volunteers fill in for permanent staff when they are on leave. Scheduled training classes are posted on the website.

The annual ladder and hose testing is being completed in May. Some issues were noted in the testing and remedied.

*The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization encourages informed participation in government. The Observer Corps attends and takes notes at government meetings to expand public understanding of public policy and decisions. The notes do not necessarily reflect the views of the League or its members.


Leave a comment

Comments are welcome as long as they are civil, do not include personal attacks, and pertain to the subject. In order to avoid being overrun by spam, comments are reviewed before they are posted.