Mayor Accepts Retirement Notice from Fire Chief. Appoints Mike Heston as Pullman Fire Chief

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Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 15:21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   Mayor Glenn Johnson, (509) 432-6894

Friday, January 18, 2013                     Fire Chief Scott LaVielle, (509) 332-8172

                                                        Operations Chief Mike Heston, (509) 332-8172



Pullman, Wash. - Pullman Fire Chief Scott LaVielle (lah vee ay) notified city officials that  he plans to retire from the fire service Jan. 31 after serving the city for the past year.

In his letter to the city, LaVielle said he has enjoyed working with this department and regretted his short stay but said he had some pressing concerns that could only be dealt with in the Seattle area.  "I will truly miss the opportunity afforded me and the relationships I have built, but I leave knowing that the department and the community are in good hands."

Mayor Glenn Johnson accepted his notice of retirement with regret but said he understood the circumstances that the chief is facing.  "Scott has certainly made an impact in the fire department and especially in the community and we all wish he could have stayed longer.  We wish him only the best."

LaVielle started his duties as Pullman Fire Chief Jan. 30, 2012, and his last day in the cdepartment will be Jan. 31.  Before coming to Pullman, LaVielle was chief of the North Highline Fire District in the Seattle area.

Johnson appointed Operations Chief Mike Heston as the new Pullman Fire Chief effective Feb. 1, 2013, subject to City Council confirmation.  The council is scheduled to vote on the confirmation at its Jan. 22, 2013 meeting.

Heston joined the Pullman Department as Operations Chief in October 1996 after serving with the Washington State University Fire Services from January 1985 to September 1996.

LaVielle said Heston is ready to take the reins. "He has been a tremendous asset to not only me and the department, but is a tremendous asset to the Pullman community and the surrounding area as a whole."

Johnson said that Heston has served as interim chief on several occasions and was one of the city's top candidates during the chief selection process last year. Heston earned both a bachelors (1991) and a master's (1994) degree from WSU.

Heston is a certified instructor in the Incident Command System (ICS) and has taught ICS classes throughout the region.   He is also a member of the Spokane Type 3 Incident Management All Hazards state response team.  Heston is currently serving as a board officer of the Pullman Lions Club, Whitman County Fire Chiefs Association, and his local resident Condo Association.  He is also a member of the Inland Northwest Blood Center, Palouse Chapter and has been active as a leader in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

LaVielle said when he arrived in Pullman he set out to accomplish a few specific objectives.  One was to establish an in - house succession plan for chief officers, a strategic plan for the next few years and for the department to be more visible in the community.  He also strived to bring the department more together emulating a more family oriented department.

The retiring chief said he wanted to make sure that all firefighters knew the reason they were in public service and that was to treat each other with dignity and respect, and to treat members of the public like they are members of our family.  LaVielle said that although his stay was shorter than what he would have preferred, such objectives were accomplished or are well on the way to completion.