A sucurity camera in Trafton General Store catches a man in costume - reindeer, maybe - who robbed the store with a pepper spray cannister and what appeared to be a handgun.

A sucurity camera in Trafton General Store catches a man in costume - reindeer, maybe - who robbed the store with a pepper spray cannister and what appeared to be a handgun.

Opportunity knocks – again – for Arlington’s new fire chief

ARLINGTON – For Dave Kraski, his foray into firefighting began with a knock at the door.

The Arlington High School graduate was working for United Parcel Service in the early 1990s, and Fire Station 47 opened near Arlington Airport to serve residents in new neighborhoods nearby like his own in The Woodlands and Gleneagle.

“There was nobody out there, and the firefighters went door to door trying to find people to volunteer at that station,” Kraski recalled. “They knocked on the door at my parent’s house, and I said, ‘Yes, I’ll do it.’”

The city came knocking again Monday when they made the 27-year veteran Kraski permanent chief of the Arlington Fire Department.

Kraski’s two daughters, Jordan, a sophomore at the University of Louisville (Ky.), and Olivia, a junior at Arlington High School, pinned the chief’s badge on their dad in the City Council Chambers. He and his wife Denise have been married for 25 years.

Several firefighters, police officers, family and friends attended the ceremony.

City Attorney Steve Peiffle performed the oath of office for the new chief, the same attorney who swore in Dave’s father, Bob Kraski, when he became Arlington mayor in 1990.

Kraski, 50, will oversee operations of the department and a roughly $5 million budget, supporting three fire stations and 30 full-time employees.

After joining the department as a volunteer in 1991, he accepted a full-time job four years later. Kraski worked his way up the ranks, then was promoted in 1999, serving as captain for 18 years.

In July 2017, he became deputy chief in charge of the organization’s daily operations. Unexpectedly, three months later, he stepped in and was appointed acting fire chief when Bruce Stedman took a job as chief for District 1 South Snohomish County.

“With the unexpected departure, to be honest, I was thinking ‘What just happened here?’” Kraski said. Deputy Fire Chief Tom Cooper’s retirement wasn’t a surprise, nor were the contracts that have kept him active with the department today on a more-limited basis.

“The acting fire chief role presented a formidable challenge having little experience or knowledge of the administrative side of the department,” Kraski said.

He credited Stedman, Cooper and North County Regional Fire Authority Chief John Cermak for sharing their knowledge to get him up and running, along with support from line and city staff.

“The department has had some good success and accomplishments over the last fifteen months,” Kraski said. “It is rewarding to look back on.”

Some of those successes include enacting an Ambulance Utility Fee to help fill firefighter and EMT positions immediately, adopting more-equitable agreements with four fire agencies that contract with Arlington for EMS services, selling off outdated fire apparatus and acquiring grant funding for life-saving equipment and staffing.

The new chief will earn $152,901 a year to start.

The hometown Kraski has extensive historical knowledge of the department and community, and he has attended countless classes and earned several certifications. He has an associate’s degree in Fire Science, and is working toward his bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration.

“I hope to continue to learn and evolve throughout my career,” he said. “I am humbled and proud of the appointment to fire chief, and look forward to the years ahead.”

Mayor Barb Tolbert is confident that Kraski’s leadership will take the department far.

“Dave is going to do awesome; he has already been doing a phenomenal job,” Tolbert said.

“He’s one of the most thoughtful chiefs I have ever worked with,” she said. “He has a long history with the department, and a calm, analytical nature. He looks at issues from all sides.”

City Attorney Steve Peiffle swears in new Fire Chief Kraski.

City Attorney Steve Peiffle swears in new Fire Chief Kraski.

Kraski’s daughter Jordan prepares to pin the chief’s badge on his uniform at a ceremony in the City Council Chambers, while sister Olivia looks on.

Kraski’s daughter Jordan prepares to pin the chief’s badge on his uniform at a ceremony in the City Council Chambers, while sister Olivia looks on.

Kraski’s daughter Jordan prepares to pin the chief’s badge on his uniform at a ceremony in the City Council Chambers, while sister Olivia looks on.

Kraski’s daughter Jordan prepares to pin the chief’s badge on his uniform at a ceremony in the City Council Chambers, while sister Olivia looks on.

Kraski’s daughter Jordan prepares to pin the chief’s badge on his uniform at a ceremony in the City Council Chambers, while sister Olivia looks on.

Kraski’s daughter Jordan prepares to pin the chief’s badge on his uniform at a ceremony in the City Council Chambers, while sister Olivia looks on.

More in News

Inslee: Stay home for 2 weeks

By Jerry Cornfield and Zachariah Bryan The Herald OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay… Continue reading

Fences have been put up around Marysville playgrounds to keep kids off. (Steve Powell/Staff Photos)
Marysville leaders concerned as (almost) everything’s closing

By Steve Powell spowell@marysvilleglobe.com MARYSVILLE – Within hours of Gov. Jay Inslee’s… Continue reading

Briefly

Beware of coronavirus scams SEATTLE – U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran is… Continue reading

Jennifer Thompson, left, and her father Ron Thompson secure a new remembrance plaque to the Oso slide site gate on Sunday, near Oso. Ron Thompson handcrafts a new plaque for the gate every year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Community remembers Oso slide victims, survivors

By Ben Watanabe The Herald OSO — The power of remembering the… Continue reading

People gather to pick up special allergy meals before leaving Lakewood High School on Wednesday in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Districts taking meals to students since schools are closed

By Stephanie Davey The Herald LAKEWOOD — Children wearing pajamas stood outside… Continue reading

Jon Nehring
Letter about coronavirus from Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring

This is an edited version of a letter Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring… Continue reading

DOUGLAS BUell/Staff Photos
                                Lead cook Keina Gowins with Presidents Elementary hands out free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to students and parents outside the school Wednesday. Presidents and AHS serve as central kitchen sites for preparing meals, which starting next week will expand to 12 delivery sites from Silvana to Oso. Right, Arlington Food Bank executive director Carla Gastineau and Mike Simpson, food bank board president and owner of Arlington Grocery Outlet, partnered with the district with their Meals Til Monday program, and gave a woman a box of donated food while at Presidents.
Arlington students won’t go hungry during the COVID-19 school closures

ARLINGTON – Arlington schools are closed through April 24 to help fight… Continue reading

Scott Beebe hands out Chromebooks to people in their cars. (Steve Powell/Staff Photos)
Marysville parents anxious to pick up school materials for kids

By Steve Powell spowell@marysvilleglobe.com MARYSVILLE – A few days ago Marysville schools… Continue reading

Jon Nehring
Marysville leaders’ trip to D.C. productive

MARYSVILLE – City leaders recently obtained advice on how to get more… Continue reading

Crews will blow garbage into the street and sweep it up over the next few weeks. The city is asking people to move their cars, trash cans and recycle bins when they come around to help them do a thorough job. (Courtesy Photo)
Marysville shuffles workers due to virus, seeks public’s help for sweepers next week

By Steve Powell spowell@marysvilleglobe. MARYSVILLE – From working from home to teleconferencing… Continue reading

Arlington closed until April 24 amid COVID-19 outbreak: what’s next?

ARLINGTON – When Arlington public school leaders met for a special meeting… Continue reading