MEET THE TEAM

Meet the team! West Thurston Fire is a combination fire department south of Olympia consisting of 100 career and volunteer staff members. Ranging from Support to Firefighter/EMTs, our diverse staff is ready to respond and serve their community in a variety of ways.

governing board

BOARD OF FIRE COMMISSIONERS - WEST THURSTON

Meets on second Monday of every month @ 6:00PM 

Meeting locations will be rotated each month between the  Littlerock and Grand Mound Stations. See resolution below for more info. 

Click here for upcoming board meeting agenda

Resolution #2019-012 Board Meetings

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BEN ELKINS

commissioner

Jeff jernigan

commissioner

John ricks

commissioner

thomas culleton

commissioner

calvin dahl

commissioner

dave pethia

commissioner

governing board

BOARD OF FIRE COMMISSIONERS - WEST THURSTON

Meets on second Monday of every month @ 17:00 hours

MEET THE CHIEFS

ADMINISTRATIVE & OPERATIONS BOARD

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fire chief

Russ Kaleiwahea

Russ Kaleiwahea, Fire Chief of West Thurston Regional Fire Authority joined Thurston County Fire District No. 11 as Fire Chief in 2002 following a fourteen year emergency service career as an emergency medical technician-paramedic-firefighter. Russ served as Paramedic- Firefighter & Lieutenant at TCFD2 and Paramedic- Captain at TCFD14. Prior to his fire service career Russ worked in private industry as a Paramedic and Emergency Medical Technician. In 1988 while working in an engineering capacity in the mining industry, Russ started pursuing his goal to serve as a paramedic by volunteering with one of the first surface mining rescue teams in the nation.

For over twenty years Chief Kaleiwahea has advocated for public education, and childhood injury prevention. As a child injury prevention specialist early in his career Russ recognized that often, the only opportunity emergency services personnel have to save one’s life is by preventing the incident from occurring, with this understanding Chief Kaleiwahea developed a child and adolescent trauma/ injury prevention program that is credited with educating thousands of children in the region. The Chief is a principal conceptual designer of an emergency crisis software program developed as a result of the Columbine, CO school shootings. The Program is widely used in K-12 schools throughout the United States.

The Chief is a former member of WREMS Injury prevention committee, SAFE Kids, Thurston County Medic One Operations committee, and Vice President Thurston County Chief’s Association, current Member of Washington State and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Chief Kaleiwahea attended Brescia University, Madisonville- University of Kentucky Branch Campus, and Tacoma Community College where he earned his Paramedic degree in 1990-91. Russ holds numerous certifications from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress and the National Fire Academy.

In his spare time Russ enjoys life with his family including his wife of forty two years, four children and seven grandchildren. Russ has a passion for boating, fishing, cooking, sports and coaching little league baseball and football

Robert joined the fire service in 1986, becoming a member of the Grand Mound Fire Department – District #14 at the age of 16. In 1989, he was hired as a Public Safety Telecommunicator with Thurston County 911 where he worked for 11 years. While with Fire District #14 he held the rank of firefighter, Lieutenant, Battalion Chief and served as the department’s training officer.

Robert has also worked for American Medical Response, the Department of Natural Resources and the State Fire Academy in North Bend. In May of 2000, Robert was hired as the Fire Chief by Thurston County Fire District #1 in Rochester. In the position of Fire Chief he successfully merged District #14 into District #1 in 2002, and helped create the fire based BLS transport program for the area.

In 2008, he began working on the regional fire authority program with Fire District #11. During 2007, he was a part of the planning and implementation team that resulted in the successful bond vote that provided for a new firehouse for District #1, as well as being a part of the successful regional fire authority vote in 2009.

The development of an emergency communication and coordination center in the new firehouse to handle local and regional disasters such as windstorms, snow and ice and flooding events, was a result of his planning. Robert holds numerous certifications for the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress and the National Fire Academy, as well as other State levels, and is also a member of Region 3 FEMA, Type 3 Incident Management Team.

 

Rob has been involved in the Fire Service in Thurston County for almost 20 years. He joined the former Fire District #11 Littlerock Fire Rescue in 2003 as a Volunteer, and in 2008 was hired as a Career Firefighter/EMT with West Thurston RFA. At that same time he assumed duties as the district Wildland Coordinator and Decontamination Unit Coordinator. Five years later in 2013, Rob was promoted to Lieutenant where he was also assigned to the district Safety Officer Position. Rob’s passion for education and training provided continued opportunities for advancement, and in 2016 he was promoted to Fire Training Captain where he assumed training responsibilities for WTRFA career and volunteer staff. Rob also served as Vice Chair of the Thurston County Training Officers for several years and led many county-wide training events during that time. In 2020, Rob was promoted to Assistant Chief of Operations and Training and then elevated to his current position as Acting Operations Chief in March of 2021.

Rob holds a Bachelor of Arts from Washington State University as well as several certifications in Fire Sciences. He completed the King County Officer Development Academy in 2016, holds numerous International Fire Service Accreditation Congress certifications, and has completed several National Fire Academy courses. Rob is a certified Blue Card Incident Commander, IFSAC evaluator and is currently the Vice President of Southwest FOOLS International.

 

Outside of work, Rob volunteers his time to participate as a live Fire Instructor at the Washington State Firefighters Association annual fire school in Wenatchee. He is married to his wife of 25 years and has two teenage boys. In his spare time, Rob enjoys spending time with family in the mountains or at the beach, supporting his favorite football and baseball teams, hiking, golfing, sharing an occasional shark dive experience with his youngest son, and shuttling the boys to baseball tournaments

OPErations CHIEF

Robert Scott

ACTING OPERATIONS CHIEF
Rob Smith

ALL STAFF MEMBERS

ADMINISTRATION, UNION &  VOLUNTEERS FIREFIGHTERS

ADMINISTRATION

CHIEF OFFICERS, TRAINING, AND ADMIN STAFF

Russ Kaleiwahea
Russ Kaleiwahea

Fire Chief

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Robert Scott
Robert Scott

Operations Chief

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Lanette Dyer
Lanette Dyer

Capt, EMS Officer/PIO

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Rob Smith
Rob Smith

Operations Chief/ Training Officer

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Shea, Linda
Shea, Linda

District Accountant/Secretary

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Linda Patraca
Linda Patraca

Admin Assistant

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CAREER STAFF

OFFICERS & UNION FIREFIGHTER/ EMT'S 

Stone, Roger
Stone, Roger

Battalion Chief

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Christenson, Brian
Christenson, Brian

Captain Shift Officer

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Smith, Eric
Smith, Eric

Captain Shift Officer

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Drake, Nathan
Drake, Nathan

Training Captain

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Betts, Brandon
Betts, Brandon

Lieutenant Firefighter/EMT

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Garza, Isaac
Garza, Isaac

Lieutenant Firefighter/EMT

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Lyon, Colby
Lyon, Colby

Lieutenant Firefighter/EMT

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Morales,Mike
Morales,Mike

Lieutenant Firefighter/EMT

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Palmerson, Erik
Palmerson, Erik

Lieutenant Firefighter/EMT

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Swecker, Joel
Swecker, Joel

Lieutenant Firefighter/EMT- Safety Officer

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Bennett, Matt
Bennett, Matt

Firefighter/EMT

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Cooke,Hans
Cooke,Hans

Firefighter/EMT

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Dean, Sarah
Dean, Sarah

Firefighter/EMT

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Devert, Brent
Devert, Brent

Firefighter/EMT

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Hall, Aaron
Hall, Aaron

Firefighter/EMT

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Howe, Joshua
Howe, Joshua

Firefighter/EMT

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Hull, Nathan
Hull, Nathan

Firefighter/EMT

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Kaleiwahea, Blake
Kaleiwahea, Blake

Firefighter/EMT

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Kondrack, Andrew
Kondrack, Andrew

Firefighter/EMT

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Collin Matson
Collin Matson
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Miller, Devyn
Miller, Devyn

Firefighter/EMT

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Panuska, Miranda
Panuska, Miranda

Firefighter/EMT

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Parker, Greg
Parker, Greg

Firefighter/EMT

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Santee,Ricardo
Santee,Ricardo

Firefighter/EMT

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Sexton, Thomas
Sexton, Thomas

Firefighter/EMT

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Singleton,Ed
Singleton,Ed

Firefighter/EMT

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Trautman,Alex
Trautman,Alex

Firefighter/EMT

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Trott, Thomas
Trott, Thomas

Firefighter/EMT

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Vavernic, Christian
Vavernic, Christian

Firefighter/EMT

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Weinstein, Andrew
Weinstein, Andrew

Firefighter/EMT

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VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER/EMT STAFF

OFFICERS, FIREFIGHTERS/ EMTS, EMT'S, AND FIREFIGHTERS

Frasl, Ken
Frasl, Ken

Deputy Chief & Fire Investigator

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Fitzgerald, Tom
Fitzgerald, Tom

Battalion Chief

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Berryman, Tom
Berryman, Tom

Capt. Firefighter/EMT

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Tietzel, Steven
Tietzel, Steven

Lt. Firefighter/EMT

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Brownell,Scott
Brownell,Scott

Firefighter/EMT

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Douglass, Jeremy
Douglass, Jeremy

Firefighter/EMT

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Speigelberg,John
Speigelberg,John

Resident Firefighter/EMT

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Linn, Catherine
Linn, Catherine

Firefighter

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McGeary, Mike
McGeary, Mike

Firefighter

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Tim Fox
Tim Fox
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Jon Cookston
Jon Cookston
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Jacob Nelson
Jacob Nelson
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Arroyo-Lopez,Ron
Arroyo-Lopez,Ron
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VOLUNTEER SUPPORT STAFF

CHAPLAINS,  REHAB TEAM, FIRETONES, ADMINISTRATIVE

 

Dreyer, Glenn
Dreyer, Glenn

Rehab Team

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Manor,Kathy
Manor,Kathy

Rehab Team

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Bennett, Katie
Bennett, Katie

Firetones

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Frasl, Katy
Frasl, Katy

Firetones

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Frasl, Terry
Frasl, Terry

Firetones

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susan Giordano
susan Giordano
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FIRE ACADEMY

WTRFA FIRE ACADEMY STUDENTS 

Charles Ault

EMT CLASS

WTRFA EMT STUDENTS 

 

 

PREACADEMY CLASS

WTRFA'S NEW ADDITIONS

Timothy Fox