SK Fire Tests County Contingency Plan

A blaze Sunday night on Stevens Road in South Kitsap tested Kitsap County’s interim fire investigation plan while the commissioners decide how best to remedy problems in the fire marshal’s office.

Sadly, the fire killed the home’s 98-year-old resident. But Cris Gears, Kitsap County administrator, told me Tuesday he and fire officials he’d talked with were pleased with the post-fire investigation.

The fire marshal’s office currently sits in limbo with only one county employee working. All others have quit or have been placed on administrative leave pending the county’s own internal investigation. From a lack of routine inspections to an inquiry of internal “fraud, waste and abuse,” there’s no way to say what the commissioners will do to the office in the coming months.

In the meantime, general fire investigation has been doled out to the county’s fire districts — Bainbridge, Poulsbo, Central Kitsap, Bremerton, and South Kitsap — and any arson investigations are being handled by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

But because Sunday’s fire was near the Kitsap-Pierce County border and the Pierce County Fire Marshal was called upon to conduct the investigation, determining that a pan left on the stove was the culprit.

County and district fire officials I’ve talked with are optimistic that the interim plan to get by for the next month or two will give way to a stable, long-term solution.

From here, we’re left to ponder what that plan will look like.

One thought on “SK Fire Tests County Contingency Plan

  1. Hey, Josh … Just a point of clarification: North Kitsap (Fire & Rescue) is also participating in fire investigations. One of our assistant chiefs, whose primary role is overseeing training and support services, also happens to be an experienced fire investigator. He is also a part of the team that will be handling this function of the county fire marshal’s office.

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