About Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue
Our Mission: To Serve with Duty, Respect and Integrity
Cowlitz County Rural Fire Protection District #2 was created by a special election on Saturday, December 6, 1947. Our department is a combination career and volunteer organization with approximately 120 dedicated members that covers approximately 152 sq. miles and serves about 34,000 citizens. We serve the public with fire protection and emergency medical services.
Our Headquarters Station is located at 701 Vine St in Kelso, Washington. The office is open for public business Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, except for federal holidays or emergent situations.
- 2020 – May 7 Fabrication of the live burn prop at Headquarters Station 21 was completed. Crews can train with live fire situations in a building, in a car, and in a dumpster. There is also space for vehicle extrication training.
- 2020 – April 6 Lexington Station 25 was completed.
- 2020 – March 14 Bakers Corner Station 22 was completed.
- 2019 – September 19 Battalion Chief Mike Zainfeld died after battling mental injuries sustained in the line of duty. BC Zainfeld served the community for 25 years, beginning his career as a high school cadet.
- 2019 – March 16-23 Cowlitz County had a streak of unseasonably hot temperatures combined with a dry east wind. This resulted in many small burn piles getting out of control. C2FR responded to a record breaking number of wildland fires in March, and we saw the earliest west-side state mobilization in history for the North Maple Fire in Kelso. One Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue firefighter was injured during the outbreak.
- 2019 – Construction of Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue’s new fire stations (Station 22 at 5699 Ocean Beach Hwy, Baker’s Corner and Station 25 at 1796 Westside Hwy in Kelso, Lexington) will begin in February as part of a voter approved capital improvement bond funding. This included two new fire stations, apparatus and equipment. The first phase of construction at station 22 will include pile driving, a requirement of the project. Steel pilings will be driven 90 feet into the earth helping to stabilize the fire station which is considered critical infrastructure in the event of an earthquake.
- 2018 – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue received a grant from the US Department of Agriculture to equip our stations with teleconferencing equipment. This equipment will allow us to provide education to our members while they remain in their station area, as well as facilitate emergency operations during large scale events.
- 2018 – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue received an Assistance to Firefighters Grant for fire prevention. Three Battalion Chiefs attained their certification as Fire Inspectors, and two firefighters attain their certification as Fire Investigators.
- 2018 – A new fire engine was delivered this year, named for Chief David LaFave. The Station 28 Maintenance Shop also custom built a water tender. It was named after Retired Assistant Chief Alan Headley.
- 2017 – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue received a Disaster Relief grant from FEMA from the 2015 windstorms and flooding. This grant allowed us to purchase and install a generator at Station 21 that is capabale of running the entire station at full capacity.
- 2017 – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue successfully applied for the Federal Fire Prevention and Safety Grant allowing us to provide smoke detectors and aides to school age children with hearing disabilities.
- 2017 – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue successfully applied for the Federal SAFER Grant again. This round, the focus was on volunteer retention.
- 2016 – Our voters approved an $11 million dollar bond issue for the construction of new stations at the Baker’s Corner site and the Lexington site. The bond issue also allows for the purchase of a new fire engine and a custom built water tender.
- 2013 – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue successfully applied for the Federal SAFER Grant to support and grow our volunteer program. A Volunteer Coordinator was hired, and there was a great focus on recruitment.
- 2010 – All Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue career employees took a 5% to 8% pay reduction resulting in over $223,000 in savings for the department. These team commitments aid in maintaining response capability and the ability to serve their public. Chief LaFave believes that the sacrifices made will balance the District’s budget at least until the end of 2011 and hopefully until the economy turns around. “This was an opportunity for our people to come together as a team…we have a dedicated group of volunteer responders that we will have to rely on now more than ever.”
- 2009 – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue formed the Hazardous Materials Response Team, which responds with Vancouver Fire to Hazmat incidents in Region 4 (Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, and Skamania Counties).
- 2008 – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue was awarded a $107,190 FEMA Fire Act Grant for Air Ventilation / Exhaust Removal Systems. This grant will provide the Exhaust Removal Systems in our apparatus bays at four of our fire stations (St 21, 22, 23 & 24). Diesel exhaust was building up in our fire stations and causing concern for potential health issues for our employees, volunteers, and the public. The remedy, to protect our personnel and the public, was to install the exhaust removal air purification systems at the stations and use it on a daily basis. This entire project was completed in 2009.
- 2007 – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue was awarded a grant for $67,000 from Cowlitz County for Title III Funds. This grant money will be utilized to prepare, implement and evaluate the Emergency Services Awareness Program. Our focus will be on the property and homes that are located in the “No Man’s Land” that is an area outside of a Fire District in Cowlitz County and does not have fire or emergency services protection. Our goal is to get the word out to our target audience and educate them on the issue and provide them with options to correct this. This is a serious issue for us and the surrounding fire districts in Cowlitz County, and we feel fortunate that the grant money was awarded to us.
- 2007 – In November, the residents served by Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue approved a 6-year Lid Lift Levy that is not a new tax, but rather restores the regular fire levy to $1.50 per $1,000 and sets a new limit on annual increases of no more than 3% per year (except for newly constructed buildings). This reduces the rate for the citizens we protect in 2008 by $.06 per $1,000. This levy will expire after 6 years if it is not renewed by the voters. The EMS Maintenance & Operations Levy that was passed by voters in 2004 (see below for those details) will not be collected for the last year due to the successful passing of this levy.
- 2004 – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue was awarded a grant for $271,000 from the Department of Homeland Security. This grant money is earmarked for updating our self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which is used when our firefighters enter life-threatening atmospheric condition. Our current SCBA equipment is outdated and no longer meets the federal standards. This was a serious issue for us and we were fortunate that the grant money was awarded to us.
- 2004 – In November, the residents served by Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue approved a 4-year Maintenance & Operations Levy of $.20 per $1,000 assessed value. A 60% super majority “yes” vote is required in order for the levy to pass. 64.50% voted “yes” and 35.50% voted “no”.
- 2003 – In November, the residents of Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue rejected a 10 year EMS Levy of $.50 per $1,000 assessed value. A 60% super majority “yes” vote is required in order for the levy to pass. 51.85% voted “yes” and 48.15% voted “no”.
- 2001 – Dave LaFave was promoted to Fire Chief by the Board of Commissioners on March 14, 2001. On July 1 of the same year, Longview Fire Department & Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue officially dissolved their administrative merger and are now two separate entities. However, we do contract for certain services to provide the best response time and care to the citizens of the Longview & Kelso areas.
- 2000 – Dave LaFave was appointed as the Interim Fire Chief for Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue in November of this year.
- 1998 – Chief Joe Valenzuela retired. On August 16, Longview Fire Department and Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue officially merged administratively and became Longview / Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue.
- 1996 – The Great Flood of 96 – Approximately 450 people were sheltered by American Red Cross. Evacuations and about 40 slides were reported as well. The damage was assessed at $6,565,119.
- 1993 – Burlington Railroad Train Derailment occurred near I-5, mile post 34.8
- 1989 – In February, the residents of the District and City of Kelso approved the ballot measure to increase the Board of Commissioners from three members to five.
- 1988 – The November ballot measure to increase the number of members on the Board of Commissioners passed with 64% in favor. However, it did not appear on the ballot for the City of Kelso and was declared invalid.
- 1985 – Wagner Road area of Rose Valley was annexed. The City of Kelso was annexed by a favorable vote of residents of both the city and district. A new Headquarters Station was built at 701 Vine Street in Kelso. On December 1, 1985, Fire District #2 began providing fire protection for the City of Kelso with the District’s first full-time firefighters.
- 1982 – Levy restored to $1.00 per thousand.
- 1979 – Tax levy passed for $1.00 per thousand
- 1978 – Lexington Station was built at 1796 West Side Highway in Kelso.
- 1974 – Bunker Hill Station was built at 113 Bunker Hill Road in Longview.
- 1973 – Areas of Ostrander and Mt. Brynion were annexed. Bunker Hill, Germany Creek, Mill Creek and Abernathy Creek areas were annexed up to the county line.
- 1967 – Rose Valley Station was built at 1436 Rose Valley Road in Kelso.
- 1966 – Holcomb Acres, Rose Valley, Mt. Pleasant and Carrolls were annexed by petition. Areas of Clark Creek and Columbia Heights were annexed by petition.
- 1965 – Baker’s Corner Station was built at 5699 Ocean Beach Highway in Longview.
- 1964 – Coal Creek / Willow Grove areas were annexed by a favorable vote.
- 1956 – Columbia Heights Station was built at 922 Nevada Drive in Longview, the first station in the District.
- 1947 – Cowlitz County Rural Fire Protection District #2 was created by a special election held on Saturday, December 6, 1947.