Fire chief Matt Cowan: Shoreline and Northshore Fire combine forces

Friday, April 29, 2022

Photo courtesy Shoreline Fire
Good news! Last night the Board of Commissioners from both the Shoreline Fire Department (SFD) and Northshore Fire Department (NFD) met and approved a contract for SFD to provide services to NFD. 

The contract, or Interlocal Agreement (ILA), details the specifics of how NFD will pay SFD to provide full administrative, operational, and support services. 

The NFD will still remain as a fire department with a Board of Commissioners managing funds and the level of service being provided. However, all the existing employees will transfer into the SFD organization, and essentially, we will be working almost like one fire department.

As one of our Fire Commissioners put it last night, we have been talking about doing this for forty years! We may not have been actively working on this for that entire time, but this has taken many years of effort. 

By combining forces we will be able to serve all of the communities better, with a higher level of service. 

Also, a contract for services isn’t the same as a merger, but there are still significant savings that will occur due to improved efficiencies. And please be assured that this will not impact any of our other activities either, unless it is to improve on those areas too. 

We will still offer the same classes, services, and community events such as the Easter egg hunt and Christmas engine.

Regionalization efforts such as this are occurring nearly everywhere, with the focus of being able to deliver better services for less money. This allows us to stretch your tax dollars further, reducing the pressure on our citizens. 

We are very excited about the positive changes that will be occurring because of this contract and believe that this is a great step forward.

If you have any questions on this or other fire department functions please contact me at


Matt Cowan
Fire Chief


Anonymous,  April 30, 2022 at 10:38 AM  

I live on the Kenmore side of Finn Hill. Nearly all of our Medical Emergency and Fire response comes from Kirkland Station 25. Northshore has to cross the bridge at 68th, making their response times fairly slow compared to Kirkland. I don't expect there to be any change to this unless Shoreline is going to build us a station on the Hill (very unlikely).

Anonymous,  May 1, 2022 at 8:23 AM  

This agreement does not serve Northshore. This is a political fire sale. We rejected the Woodinville merger by vote, and the leadership found a loophole to basically sell our fire district to Shoreline which in my mind is a worse partner.

There is a reason that Bothell has avoided being part of this. Think about why Kenmore+Woodinville but not Bothell in the vote. All three together make sense.

These elective officials just made a major mistake in my mind that will take a decade to unwind.

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