News

Fire district merger seamless

With eight commissioners now at the helm of Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue it was a little crowded at the January board meeting.

But other than some elbow bumping, the merger of CKFR and Fire District 12 (Chico) has been close to seamless, officials said.

“We don’t expect to make any great changes,” said CKFR board chairman John Wilkins, Sr. about the former District 12. Larry Miller, District 12’s assistant chief and Lorraine Borg, administrative assistant, have been hired by CKFR. Miller will oversee the details of the transition and then coordinate supplies, said CKFR Chief Ken Burdette.

“Things have been going very smoothly,” Burdette said.

The merger, which has been in the works for 25 years, became official Jan.1.

It keeps Chico’s longstanding volunteer firefighter program intact, with career firefighters responding to each call.

“They’ve got some outstanding people,” Burdette said of District 12. “We’re pleased to have them in the department.”

Bob Muhleman, the former District 12’s board chairman, agreed the arrangement has worked out well.

“The merger has gotten off to a great start,” he said.

About 35 volunteers work alongside the career firefighters. Before the merger, the district which includes the south end of Werner Road, Erlands Point, Chico, and Seabeck Highway, relied on CKFR for mutual aid.

“Bigger is not always better, but in this case it is,” Muhleman said.

The CKFR regularly has five seats that will be pared down through the election process. Nearly all of last year was spent gathering about 2,000 signatures in favor of the merger.

The original petition cards were mailed Jan. 10, 2002, with the hopes signatures would pour in without a need for an election. Under state law, signatures from three-fifths of the registered voters in the district are needed to approve a merger.

The cards, it seemed, were mistaken for junk mail or were returned with inadequate information.

But last summer a final push to collect enough signatures got the approval needed to finish the deal.

The CKFR Board of Commissioners meets 3 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the administration building on Newberry Hill Road. Its next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday Feb. 11. Fire officials are going to Olympia Feb. 10 to meet with lawmakers.

District 12 is the second merger of districts, with District 1 merging with District 15 in 1999 to form Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 24 edition online now. Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates