First woman fire chief in Clark County sworn in among family, friends and peers

Kristan Maurer was sworn in as Clark County Fire District 6’s next fire chief last night

VANCOUVER — Kristan Maurer made history yesterday. She is the first female fire chief in the history of Clark County Fire and Rescue. She was officially sworn in as fire chief of Fire District 6 by Fire Commissioner Brad Lothspeich; the same person who swore her in as a firefighter more than 20 years earlier.  

Clark County Fire District 6 Fire Chief Kristan Maurer (left) is shown here taking the oath of office from Fire Commissioner Brad Lothspeich (right). Photo by Jacob Granneman
Clark County Fire District 6 Fire Chief Kristan Maurer (left) is shown here taking the oath of office from Fire Commissioner Brad Lothspeich (right). Photo by Jacob Granneman

“I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support that our fire district has,” Maurer said. “The people that came out tonight, they’re not just here for me they’re here for all of us. It’s putting district six on the map.”

Maurer, who began her career in 1999 as a firefighter and paramedic, has risen through the ranks of the fire district at a steady pace. She has served as a lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, assistant, and most recently assistant chief. 

Through the fire district’s education program, Maurer earned her Associates in Fire Science from Portland Community College, and then went on to earn a Bachelors Degree from Central Washington University as well as her Masters in Public Administration. She is also a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy. 

At the start of District 6’s Fire Commissioners meeting on the night of Jan. 7, 2020, dozens of family, friends, peers, youth, and other fire chiefs from across the region packed fire station one’s truck bays to witness Maurer’s achievement.

Kristan Maurer delivers a speech following her swearing in while her fellow chiefs watch during a ceremony on Jan. 7. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Kristan Maurer delivers a speech following her swearing in while her fellow chiefs watch during a ceremony on Jan. 7. Photo by Jacob Granneman

It was an exciting gathering with many holding flowers in their hands and smiles on their faces. Maurer took the oath from Commissioner Lothspeich and then had her new badge pinned on by her son. 

“She’s an amazing woman,” Lothspeich said. “The Board’s really pleased, she’s going to do a great job. We had fire chiefs from as far away as Bellevue, Washington. The Portland fire chief was here, numerous chiefs from the city Vancouver, Clark fire rescue … A lot of citizens here that she’s dealt with in the past and just wanted to come tonight and congratulate her.”

Maurer’s district covers an area from Hazel Dell to the fairgrounds, and serves nearly 70,000 people. The majority of their calls last year centered on medical emergencies and Good Intent calls. The district also hosts the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) which offers classes on a wide variety of situation preparedness. 

In a speech directly following her swearing in, Maurer explained how she sees every interaction with her peers, friends, family, and members of the community as impactful and helpful. She cited working with the districts many new hires and administration as an exciting start to her role as chief. 

Clark County Fire District 6 Fire Chief Kristan Maurer talks with a young person at her swearing in ceremony at the district’s Station 1. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Clark County Fire District 6 Fire Chief Kristan Maurer talks with a young person at her swearing in ceremony at the district’s Station 1. Photo by Jacob Granneman

“Each and every one of you, whether you know it or not, have a role in me standing up here,” Maurer said. “We’re fortunate that our district is financially healthy and that it’s a direct reflection of our community support, and the decisions and beliefs held by the board and previous administrations. They have developed a strong foundation for us to grow up and that is something this district will strive to continue.”

In addition to Maurer, the district added 10 new assistant chiefs, and hopes to build a team of people that create a “synergistic effect” with a strong focus on the physical and mental health of the firefighters. 

“The community service is the essence of what brings us together as individuals and connects us to something greater than ourselves,” she said. “That connection is what makes us here a professional family.” 

About The Author

Jacob Granneman is a filmmaker and writer from Clark County. He is a graduate of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College, where he studied journalism and media production. He has produced documentary stories all over the Pacific Northwest and abroad in Argentina. His passions range from sharing the love of Jesus, to cinematography, to going on adventures in the most beautiful place on earth, i.e. his backyard. He lives with his wife in Vancouver, WA. Proverbs 16:3

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