Tulalip Bay Fire Department opens new station, hires more firefighters

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News 

Exciting things are happening for the Tulalip Bay Fire Department in the terms of expansion. In preparation for their new fire station, 15 firefighters and EMTs were sworn in on Thursday, March 21. Family and friends gathered to commemorate the occasion, that symbolized Tulalip’s unwavering commitment to delivering essential medical and fire services to its community.

For years, the area of Tulalip closest to town fell under Marysville’s jurisdiction, but the Tulalip tribes have installed a temporary fire station on 27th Avenue near the Tulalip Resort Casino. Eventually, a permanent location will be on 88th Street, next to the Tulalip Bingo Hall. 

“This means a great deal for the Tulalip people,” remarked Board member Hazen Shopbell. “Implementing the new fire station at Quil Ceda Boulevard helps Tulalip exercise its sovereign rights. It also allows us to collect tax revenue previously going to Marysville.”

Taking the proper steps to install the new station was an enormous undertaking. “We’ve come a long way,” stated Fire Chairman David Sherman. “I can’t think of a better group or way for the Tulalip Bay Fire Department to embark on this next chapter. 

Battalion Chief Bronson Smith, boasting 14 years of firefighting experience, discussed his responsibility for day-to-day staffing and emergency response, highlighting the department’s progress in acquiring paramedic capabilities. “When I first started, we didn’t have a paramedic, and we relied on Marysville. Since then, we’ve built up our capabilities, reducing response times from 15 minutes to three minutes.”

Chief Smith emphasizes the longstanding aspiration to provide comprehensive services to the entire tribal community. Viewing the new fire station as a pivotal step toward this goal, he affirmed the department’s commitment to exceeding standards and ensuring everyone feels heard and supported. Looking ahead, Smith expressed eagerness to mentor the next generation of firefighters, reaffirming his dedication to serving the tribe with honor and excellence.

Smith added, “We offer ride-along programs and have started a cadet program at Heritage High School. That’s where it starts. We have them come to the station a couple of days a week during the school year, where they get a chance to roll hose, learn how to throw gear and learn how to put the air pack on. I don’t want to keep my skills to myself; I want to teach others how to save lives. If anyone is interested, all they need to do is reach out to the fire department, and we can get you going.”

Contact the Tulalip Bay Fire Department at 360-659-2416 to learn more.