Port Townsend approves plan that could lead to one fire agency from PT to Chimacum

PORT TOWNSEND — City Council members have approved a consolidation agreement that in effect could create a firefighting agency stretching from Port Townsend to Chimacum.

“I was very pleased to see a unanimous vote,” said Chief Mike Mingee of the previously consolidated Port Townsend Fire Department and Jefferson County Fire District No. 6 (Cape George).

The City Council action Monday now allows Chimacum-based Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 into the fold.

Mingee, who is expected to become fire chief over the consolidated organization, has been successfully running the two consolidated departments since January. He coordinated interdepartmental sharing of personnel, facilities and vehicles.

After last winter’s Cape George and Port Townsend consolidation to save costs, Chimacum fire officials signaled their desire to join.

Reaching an accord among department heads earlier, firefighters needed the City Council approval to amend the agreement allowing No. 1 to join in.

“We are very happy from the outcome of the City Council vote,” said Chuck Boggs, Fire District No. 1 chief.

Cutting out duplication

Consolidation with the other two departments would help his district save at least $6,000 in insurance costs, Boggs said, among other benefits derived from slashing duplicated services.

“The reality is that current consolidation efforts are already leading to better service throughout the county,” said City Councilman Kees Kolff.

“And it fully makes sense to continue that process and include the other fire district.”

A consolidated fire services board is expected to formalize the agreement during its next meeting, May 31.

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