POULSBO — Bruce Peterson, a 26-year veteran with the Poulsbo Fire Department, was recently promoted to deputy chief.
The position was vacant for three years because of the economic downturn and resulting reduction in revenues for the department.
“The deputy chief is an important position and while the staff was able to pick up many of the responsibilities in the past few years, former Chief Olson identified over a year ago that this position would inevitably need to be refilled,” Fire Chief Jeffrey Griffin said.
“While revenues are still down, we have taken many cost-saving measures. We came in under our budget last year and next year’s budget is solid.”
Griffin said Peterson is a great fit because “he has a long history with the department, has proven leadership abilities, has earned great credibility with our citizens and our responders, and is a hard worker. He’s already initiated and completed many projects.”
Peterson was born and raised on Bainbridge Island and has lived in Poulsbo since 1979. He joined the department in 1986 after reading an ad in the paper.
“I was working as a mechanic at the time and noticed an ad asking for volunteer firefighters. I thought to myself, ‘That looks like a great way to give back to the community,’ and it was. I think we’re (fire service members) all adrenaline junkies.”
Since Peterson had heavy equipment mechanical experience, he took a lead in managing the refurbishing of a tender, the type of truck that looks like a large milk truck. Soon after, in 1989, he was hired full-time as a firefighter/mechanic.
Peterson worked his way up through the ranks from lieutenant to captain, then to battalion chief, and now to deputy chief.
“I was here when we were just a small city department located downtown. I’ve seen us grow from a department of mostly volunteers to a staff of 38 highly trained professionals. In recent years we’ve all worked hard to reduce costs and maintain our current service levels, in spite of the economy. I look forward to continuing our quest to keep costs down, while providing excellent service to our community.”