East Pierce Fire & Rescue chief aims for April retirement

After what may be East Pierce Fire and Rescue’s hardest months now behind them, Fire Chief Jerry Thorson announced his retirement during a special meeting Jan. 28. Thorson said he has been thinking about retiring for several months, and has settled on April 30 as his official retiring date.

East Pierce Fire and Rescue news

After what may be East Pierce Fire and Rescue’s hardest months now behind them, Fire Chief Jerry Thorson announced his retirement during a special meeting Jan. 28.

Thorson said he has been thinking about retiring for several months, and has settled on April 30 as his official retiring date.

“This just felt like the right time to retire and allow the next generation of leaders to step into their new roles,” Thorson said in a press release. Thorson said the failure of the last Maintenance and Operation levy and the potential layoffs of six firefighters earlier in December did not prompt him to retire.

East Pierce’s Board of Commissioners said they are sorry to see the chief go.

“We certainly would like to have him stay,” commissioner Dale Mitchell said phone interview. “Every one of us. We were reluctantly accepting his resignation.”

Thorson has worked a total of 41 years in the fire service, working as a full-time firefighter, battalion chief and fire marshall before he became the Fire Chief at East Pierce.

As chief for six years, Thorson saw East Pierce grow as the district incorporated the cities of Edgewood and Milton into the fire service. Thorson also helped expand the Board of Commissioners from five members to seven members.

Thorson will retire shortly after Deputy Chief John McDonald also retires on Feb. 1, a month ahead of McDonald’s original retirement date of March 1.“It may seem a little odd with both (of us) going at the same time, but I don’t think it leaves the department in a lurch or creates any kind of leadership vacuum,” Thorson said. “We’ve got three strong assistant chiefs, and the battalion chiefs behind them.”

Mitchell said the commissioners have not decided how they will start looking for a new fire chief, though Mitchell and Thorson said the new chief may have their work cut out for them in the department.

“They will certainly have to hit the ground running with the funding issues and other things,” said Thorson. “But I don’t think they’ll have any unusual challenges. This district will attract a great individual to command and take over building what we’ve done up to this point.”

Thorson said he will spend his retirement focusing on family and his hobbies, though “I might look at an emergency manager job someplace. Something I can do part time and help out a little bit,” he said.

 

More in News

Read with a princess at the Buckley Library | Pierce County Library System

Daffodil Princesses will be visiting the local library Saturday, March 7.

Despite high level of attention on COVID-19, your risk remains low | Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

The flu is much more dangerous, as there have been 12 deaths in Pierce County due to the illness.

Replica of Vietnam Memorial making Enumclaw stop

A local vet has spent six years trying to secure this opportunity.

Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | Jan. 29 – Feb. 5

Disturbance at the Senior Center, an egging, and stolen doors.

Tacoma’s Cora Voce choir comes to Enumclaw

The event is Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. at the Calvary Presbyterian Church.

Enumclaw Eagle Scouts honored

Christopher Morgan and Gordon Crosby received the top honor early last month.

Rain brought flooding, mudslides, traffic troubles

Here’s a recap of how the Plateau fared during last week’s downpour.

Enumclaw, White River levy measures passing

Preliminary results for the February 2020 special election are in.

Federal Way resident Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, 17, died Jan. 27, 2017. Courtesy photo
Law enforcement challenges report on sting operation that killed Federal Way teen

King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight’s findings rattle Sheriff’s Office, police union.

Most Read