As of Friday, March 2, 2018
SUNNYSIDE With his last day as city fire chief Friday, his staff is planning an open house to wish their soon-to-be former boss best wishes on his new job.
An open house for Chief Aaron Markham will be held Thursday, March 8, from 2-4 p.m. at the 513 S. Eighth St. fire station he helped to make a reality.
“It’s a bummer for us, but it is a good opportunity for the Chief,” Battalion Chief Bill Harris said. He and his fellow firefighters are planning the open house for Markham.
“The community is welcome to drop by and wish the Chief well,” Harris said.
Markham announced he will be taking the deputy chief position at the Yakima Fire Department, following the recent retirement of Mark Stotich.
“I began here as a line firefighter in October 1991,” Markham said.
He leaves with 13 years as the chief under his belt and a huge legacy, Under his stewardship, the department adopted a better system for rotating the use and replacement of the city’s ambulances, oversaw the construction of a new and expanded fire station and the addition of the city's first a state-of-the-art ladder truck now in service in the community.
“I took over for then Chief Jim Stanton, when he retired in 2005,” Markham said.
Former City Manager Bob Stockwell appointed Markham as interim fire chief in August 2004, and then as chief in January 2005.
Prior to that, Markham has been promoted to city fire marshal, a job which brought him into contact with many community businesses as he conducted fire safety inspections.
Markham also got to know a lot of the communi-ty’s children as he also con-ducted the school fire safety programs,” he said.
Throughout his career with the local department, he steadily worked to expand his education in fire safety administration, working to become certified as an emergency medical techni-cian, a certified fire marshal, and attending Eastern Oregon University to earn his Bachelor of fire service ad-ministration.
“It took me five years to complete,” he said. At the time he was working full time as the fire chief.
He went on to enroll in the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer program, a course he completed in May 2017, when he received his diploma.
“This a great opportunity for Chief Markham and although he will be sorely missed, we wish him our best,” City manager Don Day said, adding the process to find a new chief will begin immediately.
Markham, who is married and has two grown children, will report for duty at his new position March 12.