YAKIMA, WA. -- The Yakima Fire Department is now looking for a new Fire Chief.
Chief Dave Wilson announced Tuesday that he will retire in January. Chief Wilson told NBC Right Now he's excited to begin retirement and is looking forward to doing some much needed work on his house. Something he hasn't been able to do lately given his long hours at the fire station.
After a nearly 40-year career in firefighting, he deserves a break. Wilson says he's been in fire stations since he was a toddler. His dad was a firefighter and was on duty when he was born.
Chief Wilson has worked with the Yakima Fire Department since 1984. He's served as Fire Chief for two and a half years. He says now is the right time for him to step down.
"I've had a great career, I'm healthy, my kids are out of the house just finishing up school, college this spring. So it's time for my wife and I to start a new chapter in our life," Fire Chief Dave Wilson said.
Wilson will finish out the year as Fire Chief and then step down.The City of Yakima will begin an internal search for a replacement and then look at other candidates outside the department. The city should have a permanent replacement Fire Chief in the first couple months of next year.
YAKIMA, WA - After 20 years of service for the Yakima Fire Department, Fire Chief Dave Wilson plans to retire.
Wilson, who has been Yakima's fire chief for the last 2 and a half years, will leave the field in the first week of January.
"It's time," said Wilson. "Our kids are grown and my health is good. I have the opportunity to begin another chapter and I'm ready to take advantage of it."
Wilson started his firefighting career in 1975. Before joining the YFD in 1984, he worked in both Pierce County and Bellevue. In Yakima, he has served as a frontline firefighter, technical training assistant, lieutenant, shift captain, and training captain.
In 2007, Wilson was promoted to a deputy fire chief position. That same year, he was also a finalist for the Yakima fire chief job, which eventually went to Charlie Hines. When Hines accepted a chief's job in San Luis Obispo, California in November of 2010, Wilson became the interim YFD chief.
In September of 2011, he took off the word "interim" and took on the task of leading the department.
"The Yakima Fire Department has gone through a lot of positive changes over the last few years," said Wilson. "Key investments have been made to modernize the department and to make it as effective as possible. I'm proud of how far the department has come and I leave it feeling confident that the Yakima Fire Department has a very bright future," said Wilson.
"Dave has provided tremendous guidance during a time of transition for the City in general and the fire department in specific," said City Manager Tony O'Rourke. "Yakima has been fortunate to have benefited from the outstanding dedication and commitment that Dave has demonstrated throughout his career. He has been an invaluable leader."
Given what he describes as a "deep talent pool" within the YFD, O'Rourke says he's working to find a candidate from within the department to fill the fire chief position when Wilson retires.