City's assistant fire chief named interim department head

Roger Christensen, Bellingham’s assistant fire chief, will serve as the interim chief of the department after retiring chief Bill Boyd steps down from the position on Oct. 12.

Christensen was selected as Boyd’s temporary replacement by Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville. He will serve until a new permanent chief is found.

“Assistant Chief Christensen has extensive experience in the fire department and in our community,” Linville said, in a press release. “He is a skilled, capable leader and will make sure we continue to provide high-quality, responsive and caring emergency services. He also has been involved in many key public safety issues and initiatives, such as discussions about countywide emergency medical services and marina fire safety improvements. He will serve us very well during this time of transition, and I am very grateful he is willing to take on this role.”

Christensen has spent 23 years with the Bellingham Fire Department.

Mayor Linville is faced with finding a replacement for both a retiring fire chief, as well as a retiring police chief.

Linville had considered hiring a single public-safety director to lead both departments, as a cost-saving measure. Yet the mayor said she believes the benefits of having separate chiefs outweigh the potential budget savings.

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