Guest column: An open letter to the residents of Lewis County Fire District 5

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Eric Linn, the fire chief for the department serving Napavine and surrounding area submitted his resignation last night. Lewis County Fire District 5’s Chair of the Board of Commissioners Jamie Guenther says Assistant Chief Jeff Lee resigned yesterday as well. In a prepared statement, Guenther states: “The District wishes both Mr. Linn and Lee well in their future endeavors. The constituents of District 5 are very fortunate to have a dedicated, well trained group of men and women who will continue to selflessly volunteer their time to protect life and property.” Linn was the 15th chief the mostly volunteer district has had in a little more than a decade. – Sharyn Decker

By Eric A. Linn
Former Fire Chief, Lewis County Fire District 5

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of Lewis County Fire District 5. For the past five years I have served as your fire chief with pride. My service to you ends leaving a very well trained and qualified team of firefighters and EMT’s that will continue to serve you.


Eric Linn

I would like to thank the families of the firefighters that have sacrificed their time with their loved ones to allow and encourage them to invest in training and countless hours of duty to insure the safety of the community.

I would like thank my administrative assistant and office manager Linda Wolfe, Deputy Chief Jim Bridges (Retired), Assistant Chief Jeff Lee, Public information Officer Laura Hanson, Medical Services Officer Vikki Bolden, Training Officer Joel Swecker and Assistant MSO Megan Van Egdom for their leadership and support.

I would like to thank the firefighters, those that have been committed to insure the safety of their community. Each of you know how proud I am of you.

I would like to thank Chaplain Grant Kistler and Special Services member Norm Kendig for your never ending support of the membership.

I would like to thank my fire service partners, Chief Jim Walkowski, Assistant Chief Mike Kytta and Assistant Chief Rick Mack from the Riverside Fire Authority for their never ending encouragement.

I would like to thank Chief Russ Larson and Assistant Chief Kevin Anderson from Lewis County Fire District 15 for their partnerships that have led to stronger training and operating opportunities.

I would like to thank Paramedic Supervisor Steve Katenbracher for his leadership and partnership in improving the level of service to those that need our help most.

In closing, I would to thank former fire commissioner’s Rob Snaza, Kevin Hanson and Terry Bartley for their progressive leadership and confidence that allowed the district to grow and meet the needs of those they serve.

Yours in Fire and Life Safety,
Eric A. Linn

13 Responses to “Guest column: An open letter to the residents of Lewis County Fire District 5”

  1. Grant Kistler says:

    Before Chief Linn’s arrival in June of 2009, District 5 had went through 9 chiefs in ten years. The department was in a state of dysfunction with poor morale and a high turnover. The core talent was there, it just needed to be nurtured, supported and challenged.

    Through his leadership, Chief Linn created an atmosphere of trust and loyalty that enabled him to build one of the most effective fire fighting units in the county, one that many professionals consider a “benchmark”. The Chief considers safety a “value”, not merely a priority, and he established a core safety team. He implemented programs to properly maintain equipment and provide good turnout gear. The average response time went from 12 minutes to just under 8 under his leadership. When the board would not approve hiring a trainer he personally obtained outside funding to finance the position. Whoever takes over will inherit a strong effective team that Eric Linn built. I am happy for Chief that he has secured a good position where he will be appreciated and have the freedom to do his job. Grant Kistler Dist 5 chaplain

  2. I am going says:

    If you guys are so knowledgeable and concerned about the future of fire district 5, There is an emergency commissioner meeting this evening at the main station. Show up and voice your opinion.

  3. I am going says:

    If you care so much about district 5, go to the emergency commissioner meeting tonight and voice your opinion.

  4. Strong statements by weak people says:

    Interesting how the posts on the Sirens Facebook page do not include the negativity of the ones found here. Not surprising, but interesting, especially the way the authors imply they know the characteristics of respect and fairness. If all of the trolls are here spending their time spewing hatred while hiding behind the guise of anonymity, who is guarding the bridge to the camp of the ex-mayor?

  5. You Won't Be Missed says:

    Chief Linn was the nothing but a liar and a scumbag. The way he treated the people who wanted to help most was ludicrous. He would praise you to your face, then turn around and be completely unprofessional by gossiping about you behind your back. We won’t miss you Linn. Hopefully the Napavine department can return to a well respected department instead of being a teenage gossip group and wasting taxpayers money on unnecessary items. Good Riddance!

  6. Blessings says:

    No loss here. Chief Linn doesn’t mention alienating most other chiefs in the county. They do not trust or respect him. The same goes for other commissioners. Current commissioners for District 5 are budgeting and doing their due diligence to get the best service to their taxpayers at the lowest cost possible.

  7. Naivety Reigns says:

    It is a scary day for the service receivers of Fire District 5. Something is drastically wrong when both the chief and assistant resign in one day. The good old dummies are not gone and the district, its service and the insurance rates of the residents will suffer..

  8. Finally!!! says:

    Finally !!! The last pieces of the puzzle are falling in place. The “click” of previous commissioners combined with those stepping down will allow District 5 to make a giant step towards being a respected department again. The good ole boys will someday all be gone and fairness and equality will return to the department.

  9. Good Bye says:

    He will be a great fit in Buford, WY

  10. Anonymous says:

    The instability has little to do with the current commissioners. Both Hanson and Bartley were ousted in landslide elections with campaign points being largely focused on the chief, his unprofessional behavior, and outlandish salary. The voters made it clear they were not in agreement with the three commissioners he thanked in his letter. The commissioners are not there to simply “support the chief”. The chief is hired to support the board. This chief continually dismissed and undermined the authority of the current board based on poor direction given to him by Snaza, Bartley, and Hanson. That board constantly sidestepped their responsibilities of elected office and remained out of touch with district administration and the citizens.

  11. Guilty Bystander says:

    I noticed he thanks three former commissioners but not a word about the current ones. Sometimes it speaks volumes to say nothing.

  12. Pondering says:

    I have been fortunate to work with Mr. Linn on a few fires in his time as chief. It is saddening to hear about this news. He is a great individual and leader. 15 fire chiefs in ten years though??? Maybe it’s not the chiefs that’s the issue. Maybe it’s time to elect commissioners that will support and help the chief.

  13. Bye says:

    The circus must have came back to town and resigned their clown. This area wont miss you Linn!

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