New fire district head likes appeal of new home

Joe Clow had two things in mind when he went looking for a new challenge.

Enumclaw’s recently-hired fire chief was looking for a department that fit with his professional background, namely a system that took advantage of both professional and volunteer firefighters. Also, he wanted a location that offered the best of both worlds – a small-town environment within striking distance of a metropolitan center that offers big-city amenities.

It required packing up and moving half-way across the county, but Clow found both in Enumclaw.

But moving is nothing new for the 51-year-old fire chief and his family.

Prior to accepting the job as head of the combined Enumclaw/Fire District 28 operation, Clow spent eight years as chief of the fire department in Fond du Lac, Wis. From 1997 to 2001 he was chief of the department in Bedford, N.H. He had started his career in Iowa, moving through the ranks from firefighter to lieutenant during 18 years; fully vested in the Iowa system, he had formally retired before taking the New Hampshire post.

A philosophical disagreement led to his resignation from the Fond du Lac department, Clow said, and prompted he and his wife Sue to do some soul searching.

“We evaluated what would come next career-wise and family-wise,” he said. “We took a long time to do that, on purpose.”

The Enumclaw area fit the family lifestyle.

“We were specifically looking for a smaller community,” Clow said, and the natural beauty of the nearby mountains was a draw. But so was the relatively short jaunt to Seattle and its big-city attractions.

The Clow family includes a 14-year-old son. A 21-year-old daughter is attending college and remained in Wisconsin.

Since taking the helm Aug. 3, Clow hasn’t been disappointed.

“I’m very impressed with the quality and competence of both the professionals and volunteers” staffing the department, he said.

There really haven’t been any surprises, either.

“The people here in Enumclaw did a good job of preparing me,” he said, noting that firefighting issues remain largely the same everywhere.

To comment on this story view it online at Reach Kevin Hanson at or 360-802-8205.

More in News

Buckley double homicide suspect charged

Jared P. T. Standley, 21, was charged with killing his parents in Buckley last week.

Podcast, scholarship created in memory of two sons

The Babst Memorial Scholarship, in memory of Garrett and J.T. Babst, will go to an Auburn Mountainview High School student to support their decision to go into trade school.

County planning to finish Enumclaw trail, build bridge over White River

$2.8 million was allotted in the state legislature’s capital budget this year to jumpstart the project, which is expected to be compete between 2020 and 2021.

Briley Conant, second from the left, and Zach Pederson, far right, ask other Sumner high schoolers to link arms in a show of unity and support for each other and other students around the nation. Photo by Ray Still
Unity, ‘radical civility’ preached at walkout

Sumner High School joined thousands of other students in a nation-wide walkout last week.

Reality House invites parents of teenagers

The Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation is hoping to educate parents about about how to talk to their kids about the dangers of alcohol and drugs.

Despite the threat of rain and wind, hundreds turned out at Allan Yorke Park and lit candles in memory of the deceased. Photo by Ray Still
Plateau community honors two who died in avalanche

Hundreds of friends and family members attended the police procession and candlelight vigil last week for James Larsen and Zach Roundtree.

Local skater gearing up for Worlds, next Winter Olympics

Corinne Stoddard is expected to make it big in the world inline speed skating championship games later this summer.

Double murder in Buckley leads to Tumwater shootout with police

The suspect has been arrested and is expected to be charged with murder in the first degree.

Most Read