I have lived in Bayview for only ten years... In that time, we had a volunteer Fire Department that was run by well meaning, but poorly trained good old boys.
Two or three years ago, we consolidated with the Athol Fire Department. The partnership with Athol, (wrongly referred to in a recent Spokane Spokesman-Review as Athol Fire Department) and Bayview Fire District occurred. The surviving entity is the Timberlake Fire District, consisting of Athol, Bayview, and Cape Horn.
Several things happened that were very good. First, by consolidating the two weak fire districts, into one, we gained a more powerful taxing district. Secondly, somehow, we managed to capture a great Fire Chief in Rich Graeber.
I have personally witnessed two occasions where the first arrival in the emergency was Rich Graeber. He was a great asset to the community, not just as a fire chief, but as a person. I cannot believe that he left us willingly, or without regret.
We, here in Bayview, and yes, in Athol too, will miss him. But that's not the end to this story. Somehow, politics have overpowered common sense...
Has the desire to be important overcome the desire to have a great fire department? I think so, and so do many others that were shocked to hear the news. I believe that the commissioners needed to be in the limelight, and resented the chief his popularity. How sad!
There will be more from this column on this subject, including full participation in the next Fire District Commissioner election. I'm about throwing the rascals out.
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