Yakima Fire Department lieutenant retires after 31 years of serv - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Fire Department lieutenant retires after 31 years of service

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YAKIMA, WA - A firefighter is spending his last few hours on the job before heading into retirement.

The Yakima Fire Department is losing a big piece today with the retirement of Lieutenant Don Dexter. The Selah native has been a firefighter for more than 35 years, and he's only been with two departments during his entire career.

He spent four years as a firefighter in Redmond, Washington. The other 31 years he has served with the Yakima Fire Department. He's also one of the department's lead fire investigators.

Lt. Dexter says if he could, he'd do all of it over again...but he also admits that today, his last day on duty won't be easy.

"It's a little bittersweet," Lt. Dexter said. "You know, working with these guys for all these years but then again, a new adventure. It's going to be a blast. Like I said, my calendar's full. I'm excited." 

So what is the lieutenant doing in retirement? He says a lot of hunting, fishing, and team roping. He also does real estate.

But Lt. Dexter leaving creates another big hole in the department. He's the fourth firefighter to retire just this year; YFD is also down one deputy chief and two captains.

The department says that translates into about 130 years of combined service.