Roger Christensen steps down as Bellingham fire chief


BELLINGHAM - Fire Chief Roger Christensen is retiring for real this time, after postponing his retirement last spring to complete work on a new emergency medical services agreement and other key projects.

Christensen agreed to stay on for a few more months at the urging of Mayor Kelli Linville. He wound up serving for about 15 months in the department's top job, which he assumed after the retirement of Bill Boyd.

Besides the new emergency medical services agreement with Whatcom County, Christensen also played a key role in getting a $750,000 federal grant for a new fire boat, and helped set up a new emergency management center with other agencies in the former Olympic Coordination Center near Bellingham International Airport.

After the completion of the EMS agreement last month, Linville accepted Christensen's decision to retire effective Jan. 15, 2014. She will appoint Assistant Chief Bill Newbold to serve as interim fire chief.

Before taking the assistant chief position here a year ago, Newbold worked for the Redmond Fire Department, where he had been deputy chief of emergency medical services.

Reach John Stark at 360-715-2274 or . Read the Politics Blog at or get updates on Twitter at @bhampolitics.

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