Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue
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News Releases
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Firefighters respond to vacant house fire early Monday morning - 03/29/21

Kelso, WA- Firefighters from Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue and Longview Fire Department responded to a house fire just after midnight Monday morning in the 300 block of Long Ave.  Fire crews arrived on scene to an abandoned house, half involved in fire, and attacked the fire.  The fire was extinguished around 1 am.  Two fire engines, a Ladder Truck, a medic unit, and a chief officer responded to the incident.  Kelso police and Cowlitz County public utilities also responded.  The house is considered a total loss, according to fire officials.  The cause of the fire is under investigation, no injuries were reported. 

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Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue Fire Chief retires after 38 years serving others. - 03/13/21

Kelso, WA – Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Dave LaFave retires after a 38 year-long career.  LaFave began volunteering for the District in March of 1983 and was hired as a full-time employee two years later.  He held positions as Driver/Operator, Lieutenant, Deputy Fire Marshal, Captain, and Battalion Chief.  He was promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations in 1993 and was appointed Chief of Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue in March of 2001. 

 

Throughout his career, he helped mitigate major local emergency incidents including the Cast House Explosion at the Reynolds Cable Plant, head-on train collision (11/11/93), major flooding in 1996 and in 2008, and the Aldercrest Landslide in 1998.  LaFave is a cornerstone in Wildland fire and emergency management, achieving the rank of National Type 1 Incident Commander and participating in over 100 deployments throughout the country on major wildfires, hurricanes (including Katrina and Sandy), volcano eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii, and other disasters across the country. He was an original member of the Washington State Fire Defense Board formed in 1992, served on the Washington Fire Chiefs Board for more than 16 years, and was instrumental in providing leadership and Incident Command training for managing wildland and all-hazard type incidents across the US. He’s served on numerous local, state, and national boards and committees for issues related to fire, EMS, and management of large complex incidents.

 

Before his time in the fire service, LaFave worked in construction and the logging industry operating heavy equipment.  He still enjoys this work and has continued to do so on a part-time basis over the years. 

 

LaFave holds an Associate Degree in Fire Science from Portland Community College and is an Executive Fire Officer graduate from the National Fire Academy.  Throughout his career, he was awarded several life-save, major fire, and EMS awards, including those for distinguished service and the Medal of Valor. He also received the Chief Dan Packer Fire Chief of the Year Award from the Washington Fire Chiefs Association in 2014.

 

LaFave reflected on years spent serving the public, stating “I’ve had a great career that has taken me to almost all states in the U.S. and into Canada.  I’ve enjoyed serving our community and the men and women of Cowlitz 2.  I’ve made some great friendships that will last the rest of my life. Most important has been developing trust with the citizens we serve. I hope that a positive attitude and belief that service to others above self is most important continues to prevail at C2F&R. I believe it has set us apart from the crowd.” 

 

Jeff Cameron, Board Chairman, commented that “In the nearly twenty years I’ve been a board member, Dave has been a fabulous leader for our organization.  He has continually innovated and improved how we provide services and has guided Cowlitz 2 from an organization struggling financially to provide basic services, to an organization that reliably

provides excellent and compassionate service to our community.”

 

In retirement Dave plans on spending time with family and friends, especially his grandchildren; riding his Harley Davidson; spending time outdoors, and going back to work full time in construction. Former Castle Rock Police Chief and Cowlitz 2 volunteer Scott Neves has been appointed Fire Chief of the District effective April 1.