Montone welcomed aboard as Quilcene’s new Fire Chief

Posted 7/3/19

After more than three decades with the Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services, Frank Montone started work July 1 as the new fire chief of Quilcene Fire Rescue, after being welcomed aboard through a community barbecue at the Quilcene Fire Station June 29.

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Montone welcomed aboard as Quilcene’s new Fire Chief

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After more than three decades with the Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services, Frank Montone started work July 1 as the new fire chief of Quilcene Fire Rescue, after being welcomed aboard through a community barbecue at the Quilcene Fire Station June 29.

A Port Ludlow resident who was less than two years away from his mandatory retirement age of 57 in the DOD, Montone saw the fire chief position at Quilcene as an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“I started at smaller departments like this, so this is kind of like going back to my roots,” Montone said. “There was no way I ever dreamed I would go as far in my career as I did, but the fact that I’m back in a small community, sharing a barbecue meal with folks, is blowing my mind.”

Montone compared Quilcene Fire Rescue to his prior posts at Naval Air Station Key West in Florida and Navy Region Japan Fire Department Sasebo, in terms of being close-knit communities where “everyone knew each other really well and relied on each other.”

Montone was impressed with how the character of the Quilcene community came through during his candidate interviews, which included home-cooked meals for the contestants.

Montone is still working on his plans for his time at Quilcene, but that’s his first order of business when he meets with the department’s staff, deputy chief and commissioners.

“I’d like to have a plan worked up for my first 30, 60 and 90 days,” Montone said, who emphasized that his plans will incorporate feedback from his department. “I like to have benchmarks to work toward. I’ll be sitting down with our folks to get their values, but my values are firefighter safety, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, along with aggressive public education and fire prevention.”

Montone also values efficient operations, which he sees as essential especially for smaller departments with fewer resources, and a set of clear procedures and concise policies.

Quilcene Fire Commissioner Herb Beck noted that Montone was drawn from an initial candidate pool of eight, but distinguished himself throughout by his experience in rural areas and his demonstrated ability to coordinate operations and delegate authority.

“What’s pretty amazing is that all three of his fire commissioners voted for Frank,” Beck said. “He got along with everybody. I’ve read a lot of resumes, as a former Port of Port Townsend commissioner, but his really stood out.”

After eight months of Quilcene Fire Rescue not having its own fire chief to provide them with day-to-day direction, Port Ludlow Fire Chief Brad Martin is heartened to know that Quilcene will have someone like Montone to provide a consistent line of long-term direction.

Martin noted that the fire chief candidates were screened by no less than three interview panels, which included fire chiefs from Jefferson, Clallam and Mason counties, as well as the commissioners, staff and volunteers of Quilcene Fire Rescue.

“Each one had their own independent look at the candidates,” Martin said. “There was no cross-pollination.”

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