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Island fire chief retires
Mauldin leaves after long service to city
By J. Jacob Edel
Mercer Island Reporter
The Island’s homegrown fire chief announced last week that he would be stepping down after heading the department for eight years.
Chief Walt Mauldin served just over 30 years with the Island fire department, starting his career as an auxiliary firefighter in 1977. In his retirement, Mauldin plans to spend more time with family and on “life’s priorities.”
Deputy Fire Chief Chris Tubbs will be assigned as the Interim Fire Chief.
“I know that he intends to vault forward and keep great things happening. There couldn’t be a better choice than Chris,” said Mauldin.
Tubbs also began his career with the auxiliary fire crew on Mercer Island. He graduated from MIHS in 1979 and attended Washington State University and North Seattle Community College. He joined the auxiliary group in 1978 and was hired as a full-time professional in 1982. Tubbs was awarded firefighter of the year in 1988 and 1992, and assisted with the response to the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.
Prior to Mauldin, Seattle native and former chief Al Provost spent his entire 31-year career as an Island firefighter. He retired in 2000.
Mauldin took over at that time and has since seen the redevelopment of the North end station in 2000. Mauldin was also the chief when the city purchased new firetrucks for the first time in 20 years. Those trucks will begin arriving at the Island’s stations this year.
When Mauldin began as an auxiliary firefighter he had three jobs at the time, including driving a school bus for the Island’s district. As a student at MIHS and as a member of Fran Call’s first Cyclemates, he bicycled from Mercer Island to New York in 1970. Mauldin graduated from MIHS in 1973 and studied law enforcement at Bellevue Community College. He joined the department as a professional firefighter in 1980.
“I am extremely pleased with where our department has gone in the eight years that I have been the chief,” said Mauldin of his tenure as chief. “We have an outstanding staff with which I am proud to have worked. Our department serves our community as well as any. We should all be proud of what we do everyday.”