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Sunnyside Fire Chief filling position in Yakima

Sunnyside Fire Chief filling position in Yakima

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - Yakima Fire Chief Bob Stewart and Deputy Fire Chief Mark Soptich retired from the Yakima Fire Department last month, leaving the department without its top two commanders.

The city has hired a new deputy fire chief and it's Aaron Markham, Sunnyside's current fire chief.

"I appreciate the opportunity to take my skills that I've learned here in Sunnyside to the city of Yakima," Markham said.

Markham spent his whole firefighting career with Sunnyside, joining as a line firefighter in 1991, becoming a battalion chief in 2001 before becoming chief in 2005.

He said he is sad to leave Sunnyside but he has accomplished all his goals there and this is the next step for him professionally.

"I think I'm leaving this department in a better position and potential for moving forward," he said. "That was my goal."

With Markham leaving, Sunnyside is without a fire chief, but City Manager Don Day said they are actively looking for his replacement and hope to fill the position by mid-April.

"I'm going to be looking for experience in the fire service and management, leadership qualities," Day said. "But I'm also going to be looking for someone that's not afraid to climb ladders, I want a working fire chief."

Day said the city of Sunnyside will miss Markham and they are proud of him.

Markham's last day as Sunnyside Fire Chief is March 8 and he starts his new position with the Yakima Fire Department on March 12.

He said he hopes to work on keeping up staffing and maintaining the budget.

Yakima is also still without a fire chief for their department, the city manager said they have updated the job description, are actively looking and hope to fill the position soon.

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