Snohomish Fire District 4
to look at join-up with bigger Snohomish Regional Fire and Rescue
SNOHOMISH — Snohomish Fire District 4’s three board members have directed the chief to approach Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue to have conversations about consolidating services.
The newest member of Fire District 4’s board, Jill Gleason, put the proposal to a vote at their Dec. 12* meeting. Gleason described the talks as being an early “information-gathering phase” on whether to seriously discuss merging districts.
Board chair Evan Merritt would represent Snohomish Fire 4’s board at the meetings.
Board member Richard Flath raised the specter of whether those fellow board members have conflicts of interest about Snohomish Regional Fire.
Gleason’s husband is a firefighter at Snohomish Regional Fire, and board member Merritt is employed by Snohomish Regional Fire.
The informal meetings would be of six people: the two fire chiefs, two union leaders and two fire board chairs of each district.
Gleason was appointed to the board in July 2022 to take over for the seat Jim Schmoker vacated. Schmoker's exit made Flath the board’s longest-tenured board member. Merritt beat Mark Hintz in the 2019 elections.
Snohomish Fire was in more serious talks a couple years ago with Everett Fire when Everett came asking to join up to create a regional fire authority. Those talks haven’t resumed since those meetings. Everett Fire reiterated earlier this month that it is still interested in the idea.
Snohomish Fire has boundaries with Snohomish Regional, with South County Fire and with Everett Fire. It’s become increasingly dwarfed as South County Fire grew through mergers, and Snohomish Regional grew its size by merging Fire District 7 of Clearview with Monroe Fire 3, and soon after with Lake Stevens Fire, in a window of six years’ time.
Snohomish Regional’s fire chief is Kevin O’Brien.
Snohomish Fire District 4’s chief is Don Waller, who was hired in 2019 as a deputy chief and succeeded retiring Chief Ron Simmons a year later.
*- Correction: The print version of this article stated the meeting was Dec. 9. It was Dec. 12. January's meeting was Jan. 9. The Tribune regrets the error.