Port Townsend: Proposed fire merger clears hurdle

PORT TOWNSEND — A City Council committee has recommended authorizing Fire Chief Ed Edwards to explore joint operations with Jefferson County Fire District No. 6.

The council’s General Government Committee voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that the full City Council allow Edwards to enter talks with the Cape George-based district.

Edwards said he supported a proposal — first floated by District No. 6 Commissioner Rich Stapf earlier this month — under which the two departments would share a chief and training officer.

Edwards would be that chief.

Consolidating administrative functions would allow both districts to hire more full-time firefighters and increase services without adding new taxes, he said.

Edwards said the rising number of emergency medical calls in his department over the past several years — including a 10 percent increase in total calls this year — means the department needs more coverage.

“I’m getting uncomfortable about the time we’re out (on another call) and not available,” he said. “It’s gotten to the point where we’ve got to do something.”

Committee members Geoff Masci, Kees Kolff and Al Youse held virtually no discussion on the matter before voting to pass the issue on to the full council for its June 17 meeting.


The rest of this story appears in the Friday/Saturday Peninsula Daily News Jefferson County edition. Click on “Subscribe” to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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