Commissioners pick Thorson to lead East Pierce

East Pierce County Fire and Rescue’s search for a new fire chief is over.

East Pierce County Fire and Rescue’s search for a new fire chief is over.

The Board of Commissioners announced Saturday they unanimously selected Jerry Thorson as the new chief.

Thorson is a deputy chief at South King Fire and Rescue in Federal Way with 35 years of experience, including time spent as a volunteer.

If he accepts the conditional offer of employment, Thorson will assume the position March 1.

Fire District No. 22 Commission Chairman Rick Kuss made the announcement by e-mail Saturday.

Search for the chief began in July after East Pierce Fire Chief Dan Packer died while helping fight a wildfire in Siskiyou County in northern California.

Since Packer’s death, John McDonald served as interim chief.

There were 18 candidates for the position and the the list was narrowed to five finalists.

Finalist for the position were interviewed Friday. Last week, one of the five finalists, Kenneth Craft, an assistant fire chief in Bonita Springs, Fla., pulled out from the selection process.

Other finalist were Norman Angelo, who served in the El Segundo Fire Department in El Segundo, Calif., and was fire chief for the city of Kent, Wash.; Edward Hartin, a battalion chief/division manager in Gresham, Ore.; and Scott LaVielle, the North Highline Fire District chief.

The finalists were interviewed by a 15-member committee that consisted of nine from the commission, two staff members from East Pierce, a fire service representative from Pierce County, a citizen from the fire district, the president of the union and a fire service volunteer.

Reach Dannie Oliveaux at doliveaux@courierherald.com or 360-802-8209.

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