Press Releases

  • Fire Chief Widdis agrees to contract extension

    Fire Chief Ed Widdis has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him on the job through the end of 2016. Snohomish County Fire District 1 offered and approved this contract extension.

    “The Board is very pleased and feels fortunate that Chief Widdis has agreed to accept our offer,” said David Chan, chair of the district’s five-person elected Board of Commissioners. “Chief Widdis has led Fire District 1 through some tough economic times and now we need his strong leadership as we move into recovery. At the beginning of the year I said my personal goals for Fire District 1 in 2014 are stability, humanity and unity. Chief Widdis is the one who can do it.”

    Widdis has been fire chief since 2003. During his tenure, the district has consolidated with the Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds fire departments and has become one of the largest districts in the state, serving nearly 200,000 residents in unincorporated south Snohomish County, Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace,

    Chan said the district wants to continue to work well with neighboring agencies. “Chief Widdis has been in the fire service for 30 years and is well respected. He will focus on working with all our neighbors and sharing resources to improve service and efficiency,” he said.

    Under Widdis’ leadership, Fire District 1’s emergency medical services program has been the recipient of two national awards and the district’s cardiac-arrest save rate has been well above the national average.

    “I’m proud of our firefighters and the excellent service they provide to our citizens. I’m honored to have this opportunity to continue to serve as fire chief with these fine men and women,” Widdis said. “There’s still work to be done on a number of issues facing the fire district. I look forward to working on these with our employees, our Board of Commissioners, our partners and our citizens.”


  • Four escape fire at Mike's Deli in Edmonds

    Four adults safely escaped an early-morning fire that caused heavy damage to a deli-mart in Edmonds on March 13.

    The fire was reported at about 3:50 a.m. at Mike’s Deli-Mart in the 23200 block of Edmonds Way. “Fire dispatchers received multiple calls from neighbors and people driving by reporting flames coming from the building,” said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Snohomish County Fire District 1, which provides service to the City of Edmonds.

    The building also houses a barbershop with an apartment above it. “The four adults were asleep in the apartment when a stranger pounded on the door and told them to get out because the building was on fire,” Hynes said. “The residents escaped with three small dogs.”

    The back of the building was engulfed in flames when the first firefighters arrived from the nearby Esperance Fire Station 20. “They could smell the smoke as they left the station and there were 30-foot flames when they arrived,” Hynes said.

    The fire went to a second alarm. About 36 firefighters from Fire District 1, Lynnwood and Shoreline were on the scene at the peak of the fire. No one was injured.

    It took about 45 minutes to bring the fire under control. The building’s construction and a cell phone tower with high-voltage equipment posed challenges for the firefighters, Hynes said.
    “Fire got into the parapet and there was some concern it might collapse. Firefighters working on the roof cut holes in the side of the parapet to get at the flames,” Hynes said.

    The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire. Investigators said it may be days before they have a cause. They said the building may be a total loss, mostly due to extensive damage in the attic and parapet.

    A storage area at the back of the deli was also heavily damaged and there is smoke and water damage throughout the store. The barbershop and apartment have minor smoke damage. The apartment residents displaced by the fire are receiving assistance from their insurance company.


  • Two minor injuries in house fire near Silver Firs

    A woman and her young daughter were evaluated for smoke inhalation at an emergency room after escaping through a window when fire broke out in their rental home early on the morning of Feb. 25.

    Fire dispatchers received multiple calls around 12:30 a.m. reporting smoke coming from the split-level house in the 5600 block of 134th Pl. SE in unincorporated Snohomish County near Silver Firs.

    Another renter, a man, and his girlfriend, who was visiting at the time of the fire, safely exited the house after a smoke alarm sounded. “He told firefighters the woman and her daughter were already at the window and he helped them get out,” said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Snohomish County Fire District 1.

    The woman and her daughter were transported by firefighters to Swedish/Mill Creek Emergency Room as a precaution, Hynes said.

    Another woman also lived at the house, but was at work at the time of the fire.

    Firefighters from Snohomish County Fire Districts 1 and 7 responded and had the fire under control within 15 minutes. “They kept the fire contained to the living room area, but there was heavy smoke and heat damage throughout the upper level of the home,” said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Fire District 1.

    The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire was most likely started in an overheated electrical outlet that was being used to power a space heater in the living room. The investigator estimated damages will total more than $125,000.

    The fire left the house uninhabitable. The renters did not have insurance and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.

    “A fire at this time of the morning could very easily have resulted in a loss of life without smoke alarms to wake the residents,” Hynes said.

    Fire District 1 offers these tips to keep smoke alarms in working order:

    • Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
    • Replace batteries in smoke alarms twice a year. An easy way to remember is to change the batteries when you change your clocks to or from Daylight Savings Time.  If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
    • Smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old should be replaced.  Aging smoke alarms are unreliable and often are the source of nuisance alarms.
    • Make sure you have smoke alarms where you need them. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in each bedroom and hallway.


  • Capt. Maxwell wins national top-10 EMS honor

    Fire Chief Ed Widdis congratulates Capt. Shaughn Maxwell, winner of the EMS 10 award.

    Snohomish County Fire District 1 Capt. Shaughn Maxwell has been named one of the top 10 innovators in emergency medical services (EMS) for 2013 by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services.

    Maxwell received the prestigious EMS 10 Innovator award at the EMS Today Conference and Exposition in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. The award honors the top 10 EMS innovators from the United States and Canada who drove the profession forward during the previous year.

    Maxwell was honored for his work on developing a series of checklists for paramedics to use in the field to improve patient care and overall delivery of emergency medical services. JEMS noted the checklists have the potential to “transform the way EMS operates” and “may very well inform new ways of thinking for medical personnel around the world.”

    This is the second national honor Fire District 1 has received for this innovative program. Last year, Fire District 1 received the Excellence in Fire-Service Based EMS Award presented by the Congressional Fire Service Institute and the MedicAlert Foundation.

    “Checklists are already successfully used in other industries where safety is paramount, such as surgery, nuclear energy and aviation. In the fire service, we’ve used checklists for years at fire scenes, but this is the first time the concept has been applied to improve outcomes on medical aid calls,” explained Maxwell.
    More than 75 percent of the nearly 20,000 emergency responses in Fire District 1 last year were for medical aid. All Fire District 1 firefighters are certified as either emergency medical technicians or paramedics.

    “We strive to provide the best care possible when people call 9-1-1 with a medical emergency,” Fire Chief Ed Widdis said. “These EMS checklists are a new tool to assure that the highest quality of care is consistently provided. That is what we are all about.”

    Fire District 1’s cardiac arrest survival rate of nearly 50 percent is one of the best in the nation and well above the national average of about 10 percent (as measured using internationally recognized standards.

    Fire District 1 is the largest provider of fire and emergency medical services in Snohomish County, with full-time staffing at 12 fire stations. The department serves nearly 200,000 residents in unincorporated south Snohomish County, Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace.


Media Contact

Leslie Hynes
Public Information Officer
Office: (425) 551-1243

After-hours media contact number for emergency incidents in the Fire District 1 service area (unincorporated south Snohomish County, Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace):
(425) 754-7273

Annual Reports