Gold Bar, Index fire districts merge under new contract

GOLD BAR — Two more Snohomish County fire districts are merging.

A contract takes effect Wednesday that will combine the management and staff from District 26 in Gold Bar and District 28 in Index. Both districts are primarily staffed by volunteers.

District 28 will continue to exist until Index voters approve a measure to bring them into District 26, according to Gold Bar Fire Chief Eric Andrews. The exact date for the ballot measure hasn’t been decided. It’s likely to happen later this year or early next year.

The move follows a local and national trend toward consolidating fire protection services. Districts in Monroe and Clearview, where Andrews also works, completed a merger last year. Arlington and Marysville are talking about a new partnership, as are Lynnwood and Fire District 1 based in south Everett.

The Index district serves about 1,000 full-time residents living on more than 170 square miles. Gold Bar firefighters serve about 6,500 people in 36 square miles. Combined, their annual budget will fall just under $1 million.

Andrews will stay as chief, and Index Fire Chief Ernie Walters will become an assistant chief.

As is common at rural fire departments, the two chiefs have struggled in recent years to recruit enough volunteers to cover around-the-clock emergencies.

Most of their emergency calls are medical in nature, and Gold Bar crews are summoned to nearly every major incident between their town and Stevens Pass.

The idea of merging surfaced years earlier, but Walters brought it up again. The two boards of commissioners approved the contract earlier this year.

“It seems good sense to combine both districts because we work together so much already,” Walters said. “It would make it an easy transition, plus we can provide better service and more service.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rikkiking.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A wanted suspect was arrested after a standoff with law enforcement Tuesday night. (Bothell Police Department)
Kidnapping suspect arrested after standoff in Bothell

A large police presence contained the property in the 20500 block of 32nd Dr. SE on Tuesday night.

Community Transit's Lynnwood microtransit pilot project is set to launch this fall with a service area around the Alderwood mall. (Community Transit)
Lynnwood’s microtransit test begins this fall, others possible

Community Transit could launch other on-demand services in Arlington, Darrington and Lake Stevens.

Doctor Thomas Robey sits in a courtyard at Providence Regional Medical Center on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘It’d be a miracle’: Providence tests new treatment for meth addiction

Monoclonal antibodies could lead to the first drug designed to fight meth addiction. Everett was chosen due to its high meth use.

Rev. Barbara Raspberry, dressed in her go-to officiating garments, sits in the indoor chapel at her home, the Purple Wedding Chapel, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Everett, Washington. The space used to be two bedrooms, but she and her husband Don took down a wall converted them into a room for wedding ceremonies the day after their youngest son moved out over 20 years ago. The room can seat about 20 for in-person ceremonies, plus it serves as a changing room for brides and is the setting for virtual weddings that Raspberry officiates between brides and their incarcerated fiancees at the Monroe Correctional Complex. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s oh-so-colorful Purple Wedding Chapel is in the red

Rev. Rasberry has hitched hundreds of couples over the years. After her husband died, she’s unsure if she can keep the place.

Everett
Man dies in motorcycle crash that snarled I-5 in Everett

Washington State Patrol: he tried to speed by another driver but lost control and hit the shoulder barrier.

Patrick Diller, head of community partnerships for Pallet, discusses the Pallet Shelter Pilot Project last June in Everett. (Katie Hayes / Herald file) June 29, 2021
State laws prompt changes in Everett city rules for shelters

The city is considering revisions to issue permits more quickly for emergency shelters.

Two vehicles rolled over and three people suffered injuries Saturday in what’s believed to be a DUI crash on Highway 522. (Snohomish County Fire District 7)
Shoreline woman charged with ‘reckless’ homicide in deadly Monroe crash

Prosecutors allege Addele Wells was driving erratically when she crashed into an Audi, killing Megan Barney, 24, in 2020.

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Whatcom County seeks to shuttle 45 inmates to half-empty Everett jail

Under the proposed agreement, Whatcom County would pay over $1 million through this year amid a rising jail population.

X
It’s a wrap: Primary results certified as November matchups set

In Snohomish County, 3,008 ballots got rejected. Some arrived late. Others weren’t signed. Twenty were for the wrong election.

Most Read