Steve Heitman will be the new chief of the Renton Regional Fire Authority after two decades as a member of the Mercer Island Fire Department.
Heitman — who has been the Mercer Island fire chief since 2014 after serving as deputy fire chief and a firefighter — will join the Renton organization on Jan. 31. Heitman was one of three finalists in 2017 to be chief for the Kent-based Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority. Puget Sound Fire hired Matthew Morris, who was fire chief of the Henderson Fire Department in Nevada.
Heitman said he’s leaving Mercer Island to take on a new challenge that will continue to drive him to improve and grow in his career.
He’s excited to step onto new terrain and experience “working under a different style of governance and a different financial model,” said Heitman, who will oversee all Renton fire operations and services delivered by 180 personnel from seven fire stations.
Once Heitman starts in Renton, he will begin work on three of the organization’s goals: “This year, a new contract for service needs to be negotiated with Fire District No. 40, a planning committee needs to be established and work on putting a renewal of the Fire Benefits Charge on the ballot for April of 2022, and we will also be starting the accreditation process,” he said.
Mercer Island city manager Jessi Bon has begun working on the Mercer Island Fire Department leadership transition plan, according to a press release.
“I have no doubt that Chief Heitman will excel with this career advancement and am not surprised that he was selected as the most highly-qualified candidate; we’re sorry to see him go and wish him all the best,” said Bon.
Heitman said that his top accomplishments on Mercer Island have been a residential fire sprinkler ordinance, the establishment of a multi-department training consortium, and the recent successful completion of a fire service analysis showing the high-level effectiveness and efficiency of the department.
He reflected on his time in the fire service: “What has kept me going is that I still come to work and feel that I make a difference, and that my work is very rewarding.”