Hello, and thank you for welcoming me into your community. My name is Michael Ray, and I am the new Fire Chief of Skagit County Fire District #3. I was recently hired by your elected commissioners, after a rigorous selection process. I’m taking over for John Van Pelt, who recently retired, had been your Chief for many years, and a member of your fire service for 44 years! Thank you John.
I have been around the fire service most of my adult life. I became interested in firefighting and paramedics way back in the 70’s with the TV show EMERGENCY! Did you know, one of the main actors, Kevin Tighe, lives here in Skagit County?
I grew up in Skagit County, graduating for Anacortes High School. I went to college in Ellensburg where I started down my path of emergency service. I became an Emergency Medical Technician, while still at college at Central Washington University. I started volunteering with the Anacortes Fire Department in 1993 after I graduated from CWU. My first CPR call was actually while working at my day job at Safeway, with a former Fire District 3 member, Larry Friend, who worked at Safeway with me. I am happy to report that it was a save, and that gentleman returned to shop at Safeway many times. I then transitioned to becoming a volunteer resident at the Sedro-Woolley Fire Department, which allowed me to further pursue my goal of becoming a full time firefighter. I was lucky enough to be hired by Sedro-Woolley as their first full time firefighter. I also worked as an EMT for Skagit Medic One for several years. That is a job I kept for almost 3 years. In late 1996 I tested and was hired by the Bellingham Fire Department, a job I still hold. I’m currently a Fire Captain, assigned to Station 6, as well as member of our Marine Division.
My family and I live on five acres just south of the district in Arlington. My wife of almost 22 years Chris, is a stay at home mom who is very involved with PTA and other school activities. My boys, Eric 15, and Jackson 13 are involved with 4-H. Eric is interested in becoming a paleontologist, while Jack thinks he wants to be a firefighter.
I am very excited to begin this new chapter of my life, while being part of this great department. Our department, and community is growing. Calls for emergency service are up, and training requirements are constantly growing to allow us to serve the community best. I am looking forward to meeting you, please stop by the fire station anytime. We will provide for you the best emergency services we are able to, while working alongside our surrounding emergency service providers.
Jeff Locken was promoted to Assistant Chief in March, 2019. Jeff has been with Fire District 3 for almost 25 years. Jeff’s father was also a member of the Fire District. Jeff has the core values and leadership ability that will allow our Fire District to grow with the surrounding communities. Jeff has a great work ethic, and cares for our community.