The new South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue gets a chief

Fire District 1 and the Lynnwood Fire Department joined to become a regional fire authority.

EVERETT — Southwest Snohomish County was expected to welcome a new chief Sunday to lead a brand new fire department.

Fire District 1 and the Lynnwood Fire Department officially joined to become a regional fire authority. Bruce Stedman, the former chief in Arlington, will manage a department that serves about 250,000 people.

Voters approved the transition to a fire authority during the Aug. 1 primary election. The independent body is governed by five District 1 commissioners and two elected Lynnwood officials.

People who call the fire department likely won’t notice a change. Their local firefighters will serve the same neighborhoods, spokeswoman Leslie Hynes said. However, the agency plans to design a new logo bearing the name “South Snohomish County Fire &Rescue.”

On Sunday, the board was expected to approve a budget for the remainder of the year. A swearing-in and pinning ceremony for Stedman also was planned.

The new job pays $195,000 a year. That’s nearly 25 percent more than what the former fire chief of Everett earned in the county’s largest city.

Stedman has logged more than 39 years in the fire service, Hynes said. He was selected among four finalists after a nationwide search.

He spent the last seven years as fire chief for the Arlington Fire Department. Before he came to Washington, he led a different fire department in California.

Commissioner Jim McGaughey said Stedman’s previous experience with merging fire departments in California stood out.

“He would be able to help us and carry us from where we are now into the future,” McGaughey said.

During Stedman’s time in Arlington, he secured grant funding to update the department’s equipment, including its fire engines, ladder trucks and three ambulances, according to the city.

Stedman also had a two-year stint as the public safety director in Arlington. He was tasked with reducing drug-related crime and making improvements within the police department.

In Stedman’s absence at the Arlington Fire Department, Dave Kraski has been promoted from deputy fire chief. He is now acting fire chief.

The regional fire authority will continue to serve the cities of Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace through existing contracts.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; ctompkins@heraldnet.com.

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