Ed Widdis will be stepping down as fire chief of Snohomish County Fire District 1 effective March 8. He made the announcement during Tuesday night’s Board of Commissioners meeting.
Widdis last year announced his plans to retire at the end of 2016, but said medical issues prompted him to move up that date. “It is with great honor and privilege I have served as fire chief of Fire District 1 for over a decade. However, this is a duty that truly requires a full-time presence, which I will not be able to fulfill as I address my medical issues in coming months,” Widdis said.
Although he is stepping down as fire chief, Widdis will continue to work with the fire district through the end of the year in a new role as a transitional consultant. His duties will include working with partner cities, addressing legislative issues and assisting with the transition of bringing on board a new chief.
“We appreciate Chief Widdis’ long and distinguished service to the fire district and are pleased he has a agreed to stay on until the end of the year in a consulting capacity to help with transition issues,” said Jim McGaughey, Board of Commissioners chair.
Under Widdis’ leadership, Fire District 1 has become one of the largest fire districts in the state, serving nearly 200,000 residents in unincorporated southwest Snohomish County, Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace.
The board has named Assistant Chief Brad Reading to serve as interim fire chief until a permanent successor can be found. A 37-year veteran of fire service, Reading previously served as chief of the Mountlake Terrace Fire Department and became an assistant chief at Fire District 1 in 2005 when the two departments combined as part of a regional consolidation.
The Board of Commissioners is working with a professional recruitment firm to assist in the search for a permanent fire chief.