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Community meets Fire Chief candidates

ARLINGTON — Members of the public recently got a chance to meet the five Arlington Fire Chief candidates.

About 75 community members showed up for a public open house and reception in the Arlington City Council chambers on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Arlington residents were able to not only speak with the candidates, but also the City Council and Mayor Margaret Larson.

The city originally had six candidates for the fire chief position, which has been open since July 1.

One of those candidates dropped out on Sept. 29, leaving Richard Gracia of Las Vegas, Charles Hanley of Santa Rosa, Calif., Dennis Johnson of Meridian, Idaho, Scott LaVielle of Seattle and Bruce Stedman of Yorba Linda, Calif.

Gracia recently retired from the Las Vegas Fire Department after more than 28 years of service, including the past 10 as Deputy Chief.

Hanley, a 33-year veteran of fire service, is currently an instructor with the California State Fire Marshal's Office and Santa Rosa Junior College. He retired from the Santa Rose Fire Department as Chief of Operations in 2008.

Johnson, who also has 33 years of fire experience, mostly served as Fire Chief of the Woodinville Fire District. He's also worked for the Boise, Whitney and Idaho Falls, Idaho, fire departments.

LaVielle has spent 28 years in fire service. The only Washington state resident selected as a finalist, he has worked with the North Highline Fire District south of Seattle for his entire career, and was appointed Fire Chief of the district in 2007.

City of Arlington spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said she would be surprised if the Council approved a contract with the top applicant at its Oct. 5 meeting.

Former Arlington Fire Chief Jim Rankin announced in April that he would be retiring. Rankin had been with the department since 2005.

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