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Community-minded firefighter retires

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

After 37 years of dedicated Sequim service, Capt. Dennis Kettel, 58, retired from Clallam County Fire District 3 effective April 28.

 

The firefighter/emergency medical technician leaves behind the B-shift crew of 10 people and a legacy of helping the city he has lived in his whole life.

 

“He’s a very sovereign leader with a great set of ideals,” said Steve Anders, firefighter/EMT on B-shift.

 

“He’s born and raised in Sequim like me. He’s brought a real sense of relationship with the community to us.”

 

Kettel said he’s worked hard to help Sequim during his tenure.

 

“Being in the fire service is a lot more than just firefighting,” Kettel said. “It’s a lot of community activities and giving back.”

 

Kettel began as a Sequim Fire Department volunteer in December 1973, following in his father’s footsteps. His training was all on the job and his service was strictly to put out fires, not treat the injured.

 

He served 15 years as a volunteer, while selling auto parts or working at Blake Sand and Gravel, before being hired as a career firefighter on July 1, 1988.

 

Kettel always wanted to make firefighting his career, he said.

 

“He’s a consummate professional,” said Assistant Chief Tony Hudson, who was hired the same day as Kettel. “This is great for him, but sad for the department to see him go.”

 

Kettel was promoted to B-shift captain March 1, 1994, and was named 2001 Firefighter of the Year here.

 

He said his last notable duties were assisting with extinguishing two structure fires.

 

In retirement, Kettel said he’s going to volunteer on Kodiak Island, Alaska, at a camp. He intends to live part-time in Sequim and Arizona.

 

Marc Lawson becomes the new B-shift captain and Ryan Tillman, lieutenant.

 

Clallam County Fire District 3, 323 N. Fifth Ave., can be reached at 683-4242.

 

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