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About SVFD

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Our History

On November 14, 1939, The Board of the Spokane County Commissioners adopted a Resolution to hold an election on Tuesday, March 12, 1940, to determine if the Spokane Valley Fire Protection District No. 1 should be formed, and for the election of its first Fire Commissioners. On March 12, more than two-thirds of the votes cast were in favor of the formation and E.G. Kenney, F.R. Salter, and D.R. Meigs received the highest number of votes for Fire Commissioner. The Spokane Valley Fire Protection District No. 1 was officially approved by another Resolution of the Board of the Spokane County Commissioners on March 22, 1940.

J.R. Bittle was the first fire chief to be appointed on December 1, 1940, by the Fire Commissioners. Chief Bittle left the department in September 1942, and Bassil George was appointed as the next chief. America was at war which resulted in interim chiefs filling in for Chief George while he was on military duty. There was also a significant turnover in firefighters during this period of time. Since Chief George’s service to the community, there have been eleven additional fire chiefs.

SVFD History 2
SVFD History 1

On December 5, 1940, the Greenacres Station received three (unknown year) Ford Mercury Seagrave fire engines. The Orchard Avenue Station was built next and was located at Park and Utah. Engine 2 began responding out of the new station in May 1941. Engine 1 began responding out of the Dishman Station located on Sprague Avenue at about Marguerite in November 1941. The fire station was inherited from the County Fire Department. This one County Station had previously responded to all fires within Spokane County. By the end of 1941, the Spokane Valley Fire Protection District No. 1 employed eleven firefighters that worked 48 hours and were off 24 hours. Today the Spokane Valley Fire Department has ten fire stations and employs 165 firefighters that work 24 hours and are off 48 hours.

SVFD History 3
SVFD History 4

The boundaries of the Spokane Valley Fire Department cover approximately 75 square miles; the western boundary is Havana Street and the eastern boundary is the Idaho State Line. In 1940 the population within the District’s boundaries was approximately 10,000 and today the population served is approximately 125,000. For many years the service area within the District was an unincorporated part of Spokane County. Today the Spokane Valley Fire Department provides emergency services and programs to the cities of Liberty Lake, Spokane Valley and Millwood (all of whom annexed into the District at various times over the past ten years) and surrounding unincorporated areas of Spokane County.


Mako the arson dog

Mako the Arson Dog

Mako, an eighteen month old Labrador Retriever from Michigan, along with Assistant Fire Marshal Rick Freier, completed a four week training course in the state of Maine where Mako had been certified as an accelerant detection canine.

In the fall of 2009, the department completed and submitted an application to State Farm for consideration. It was reviewed and accepted in December 2009.

The training was sponsored by State Farm Insurance, conducted by Maine Specialty Dogs, and certified by the State of Maine Criminal Justice Academy. State Farm Insurance funded all costs involved in this program which included: acquiring the dog, training fees at the Maine Specialty Dogs, room and board for Mako and Assistant Fire Marshal Freier, and transportation to and from Maine. State Farm Insurance started the program in 1992 and has sponsored 250 dogs in 43 states and Canada. Mako is their only dog in Eastern Washington and one of 75 State Farm dogs currently working in the country. A total of nine K-9 teams were trained in 2010.

Assistant Fire Marshal Freier, a certified fire investigator, and Mako teamed up to investigate fires in our coverage area, and in certain instances assisted other fire departments with their fire investigations.  Mako was trained to “sniff” out accelerants—flammable liquids such as gasoline and kerosene that arsonists use to start fires. Evidence would then be collected and used to assist prosecutors in the prosecution of arson cases. Mako worked many fire scenes but not all of them were caused by arson. It was important to expose the dog to many types of fires.

Local State Farm insurance agents and veterinary services from Keith Clark of Pet Vet Hospital assisted in the ongoing costs and care of Mako.

Mako and Assistant Fire Marshal Freier also worked in the area of public education. They believed the best way to protect the citizens of the district was to prevent fires from happening. You could see them at local schools or at community events promoting fire safety.

From Ashes to Answers

The National Fire Dog Monument (NFDM) is a nationally approved 501(c) (3) non-profit. The NFDM was created to build the Certified Accelerant Detection K-9s a bronze monument to acknowledge them for their service to the communities where they serve. These dogs do not ask for anything in return after risking their lives to reduce the negative impact of arson in their communities. The monument design is a standing fire fighter looking down on his Labrador Retriever, who is looking back up at his handler ready to work. The monument is titled “From Ashes to Answers”. The monument is inspired by Colorado’s first Arson Dog Erin, who recently lost her battle with cancer. The monument will reside at a fire station in Washington D.C.

For more information visit

Fire Dog Momument

Did you Know?


  • You can sign up for a station tour. Great for small groups.
  • You should replace the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year.
  • Creating a defensible space with regards to wildfires could just save your home or property.

Commissioner Patrick Burch

Board Member Since: July 18, 2016
Current term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Burch was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in July 2016 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. He became a volunteer member of the Department’s CERT Team in 2008 and later served as a team leader/member of Fire Corps.

“I admire the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s focus on continuous improvement. Our dedication to the community, fiscal responsibility and the fact that we are one of the few accredited fire departments in the State of Washington all make SVFD great!”

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Burch was elected by voters in November 2017.

Commissioner Mike Kester

Board Member Since: January 1, 2020
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Mike Kester was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in November, 2019.

Commissioner Kester grew up in the Spokane area and has a deep appreciation for just how fortunate we all are to live in this beautiful area. He believes that being involved in this community is not something to take lightly.

His background includes joining the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) after high school and serving on a port firefighting boat doing search and rescue in Portland, Oregon.  After the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management.  He then went on to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving in their Parks Department.

Spokane was the next step in his career. He  went to work for the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad and the next 22 years was spent as a conductor moving freight. Commissioner Kester  retired in 2010 after a workplace injury and now,  he and his wife enjoy making meals for World War II Veterans, helping out at the YMCA ,and providing meals for those in need.

“In the 25 years of being a resident of the Spokane Valley the professionalism of the SVFD has inspired me to take an active part in bettering our community. We have one of the best fire departments in the whole Pacific Northwest. My wife and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I have dedicated my life to keeping them safe.  I want to apply that dedication to our community.  Keeping us all safe is a goal we should all aspire to in one way or another. Communication within the department and with the public is, and always will be one of my primary goals.”

Commissioner John Guarisco

Board Member since: August 27, 2018
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2027

Commissioner Guarisco was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in August 2018 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Guarisco founded Marjoni Marketing in 2004 and in 2010 merged with MDI marketing. He then pursued Real Estate, earning his license and now, currently serves the greater Spokane area as a licensed Realtor. He has long been active in the community and has won numerous awards during his career including the Volunteer of the Year (2014) and the Community Caring Award (2010) from the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He is a member of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club and holds an AA degree from Spokane Falls Community College.

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Guarisco was elected by voters in November 2019.

Commissioner Bill Anderson

Board Member since: January 1, 2000
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2023

Commissioner Anderson served our community as a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter for 29 years. Throughout his career, he worked as a firefighter, dispatcher and engineer before he was promoted and became an officer. He was Station Captain of Millwood Station 2 when he retired in 1999. During his years as firefighter, he was an active leader of Spokane Valley Firefighters Local 876 and served as a trustee on the Washington State Council of Firefighters for 25 years.

“It’s important to me that we continue the good service we’ve always given the people. We’ve accomplished a lot and are pulling in the same direction to get better. I’m very proud of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.”

Commissioner Brian Asmus

Board Member Since: June 14, 2021
Current term expires: 

Commissioner Brian Asmus was appointed to the Spokane Valley Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners in 2021.

Commissioner Asmus is the former Liberty Lake Police Chief and current Director of Safety and Security at Central Valley School District (CVSD).

“Brian Asmus brings extensive Public Safety leadership experience, and a long history of being actively engaged in his community to his new role as a SVFD Commissioner,” said SVFD Fire Chief, Bryan Collins. “During his time as a Police Chief, Brian interacted with SVFD firefighters and administrators on a regular basis, making him very familiar with our structure, standing within our communities, as well as with many of our current SVFD board members and personnel. Brian’s experience working and collaborating on regional issues aligns nicely with SVFD’s philosophy and will help us continue to be a catalyst for local and regional excellence and innovation.”