Jake Patterson starts today as fire chief for Clallam County Fire District 2, succeeding Chief Sam Phillips after his retirement. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Jake Patterson starts today as fire chief for Clallam County Fire District 2, succeeding Chief Sam Phillips after his retirement. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Clallam Fire District 2 under new leadership

Jake Patterson takes over top job, eyes challenges

PORT ANGELES — Jake Patterson, who has spent most of his firefighting career in Clallam County, is taking charge of Clallam County Fire District 2 today following the retirement of Chief Sam Phillips.

“Jake is an extraordinary fire officer and I have the fullest confidence in his ability to take us to new levels in the fire district,” Phillips said Sunday. “I think he is going to serve the district well and I couldn’t have been happier to have someone working with me as I transition out.”

Started as a volunteer

Patterson, a Sequim resident, has been fighting fires since he started as a volunteer at the Port Angeles Fire Department in 1992. In 1994, the city of Richland hired him as a firefighter/EMT and he returned to Port Angeles as a career firefighter in 2000. In 2008 he was promoted to lieutenant.

Clallam Fire District 2 hired Patterson in 2017 to serve as its deputy chief.

Phillips said Patterson has earned a master’s degree in public administration and is in the final stages of the four-year Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy.

Patterson, a former Marine, is looking forward to facing a number of challenges as he begins his tenure as the district’s fire chief.

“The fire district has done really well with managing its budget … but there are some big issues that no matter how well we prepare for and no matter how frugal we are with the public’s money, we’re going to need some help from the public,” Patterson said.

He said the fire district needs to look at replacing its aging stations and its aging vehicles, a multi-million dollar effort he said the district will likely ask voters to approve next year in the form of a bond.

Exactly how much the district will ask for and exactly what the money would be used for is still in the works, he said.

“Our fire stations were constructed over 60 years ago and with the expansion of our [advanced life support] program and addition of career staff, we have outgrown our facilities,” he said. “We’re in the early stages of planning and information gathering so that we have the complete package to present that the voters are comfortable with supporting.”

The fire district covers 85 square miles, from East Beach Road at Lake Crescent to Deer Park Road east of Port Angeles, not including the city itself.

It has four active stations, including ones in Gales Addition, the Dry Creek area, the Black Diamond area and the Deer Park area. It has a fifth station near Lake Sutherland that has closed due to lack of volunteers in the area and is used for storage, he said.

Another challenge Patterson expects to contend with is the shortage of volunteers that fire departments across the country face.

In recent years the district added six career firefighters and typically has between 40 and 45 volunteer firefighters, but the number of calls the district faces continues to grow. Patterson said that ideally the district would have 60 volunteers.

Fire and medical response calls grew from 979 in 2011 to 1,774 in 2018, climbing 81 percent.

“It’s difficult to recruit and retain volunteers,” Patterson said. “Life gets in the way and the department is getting busier. Demand has been steadily increasing and it’s several times a day that they are getting called out.”

Patterson said he is thankful for Phillips’ support and that his retirement is “well-deserved.”

“I appreciate the opportunity Chief Phillips gave me a couple years ago,” Patterson said. “He has been supportive of me moving into this position.”


Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

John Brewer.
Former editor and publisher of PDN dies

John Brewer, 76, was instrumental in community

Randy Perry and Judy Reandeau Stipe, volunteer executive director of Sequim Museum & Arts, hold aloft a banner from "The Boys in the Boat" film Perry purchased and is loaning to the museum. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
‘Boys in the Boat’ banner to be loaned to museum

Sequim man purchases item shown in film at auction

Charisse Deschenes, first hired by the city of Sequim in 2014, departed this week after 10 years in various roles, including most recently deputy city manager/community and economic development director. (City of Sequim)
Deputy manager leaves Sequim

Community, economic development position open

Hoko River project seeks salmon recovery and habitat restoration

Salmon coaltion takes lead in collaboration with Makah, Lower Elwha tribes

Clallam Transit’s zero-fare program off to successful start

Ridership is up and problems are down, general manager says

Motor rider airlifted to Seattle hospital after wreck

A Gig Harbor man was airlifted to a Seattle hospital… Continue reading

Traffic light project to begin Monday

Work crews from Titan Earthwork, LLC will begin a… Continue reading

From left to right are Indigo Gould, Hazel Windstorm, Eli Hill, Stuart Dow, Mateu Yearian and Hugh Wentzel.
Port Townsend Knowledge Bowl team wins consecutive state championships

The Knowledge Bowl team from Port Townsend High School has… Continue reading

Bob Edgington of 2 Grade LLC excavating, which donated its resources, pulls dirt from around the base of an orca sculpture at the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield on Thursday during site preparation to rebuild the Port Angeles play facility, which was partially destroyed by an arson fire on Dec. 20. A community build for the replacement playground is scheduled for May 15-19 with numerous volunteer slots available. Signups are available at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904084DA4AC23A5F85-47934048-dream#/. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Site preparation at Dream Playground

Bob Edgington of 2 Grade LLC excavating, which donated its resources, pulls… Continue reading

Rayonier Inc. is selling more than 115,000 acres in four units across the West Olympic Peninsula last week as the company looks to sell $1 billion worth of assets. (Courtesy photo / Rayonier Inc.)
Rayonier to sell West End timberland

Plans call for debt restructuring; bids due in June