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WCFD7 Fire Chief Gary Russell (left) and Assistant Fire Chief Larry Hoffman (right) pose for pictures after a meeting at the Washington Street fire station (January 12, 2017). Photo: Discover Ferndale

Ferndale area fire chief set to retire after 40+ years of putting out fires

Whatcom County Fire District 7 (WCFD7) Fire Chief Gary Russell has spent the last four decades fighting fires, aiding the sick and injured and saving lives.

Now, after 30 years as WCFD7’s Fire Chief, Russell will be retiring July 1st. Between then and now, Russell will be transitioning his responsibilities to Assistant Fire Chief Larry Hoffman. Hoffman will assume the title of Fire Chief in July.

Russell joined WCFD7 as a volunteer in 1973. He became the Assistant Fire Chief in 1983 and became Fire Chief in 1986.

Hoffman joined WCFD7 as a volunteer at the North Bellingham Station in 1986. He was hired as the District training captain in 1989 and promoted to assistant chief in 1997.

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Hoffman says he doesn’t have any significant changes planned. “The department has been managed very wisely by not only the elected officials, but Chief Russell as well,” Hoffman said. “And that will make the transition much easier for everyone.” Hoffman pointed out, “Jumping from the operations side, to the financial management side will be the most challenging aspect for me.”


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