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Fire Chief

The 1869 City Charter granted the Common Council the authority to appoint or elect officers "to provide for the prevention and extinguishment of fires." A City Charter Amendment in 1875 broadened authority to establish building regulations, organize a Fire Department, purchase fire apparatus, ensure a water supply for fire fighting purposes, and levy taxes to pay for fire protection.

Ordinance 129, passed in 1876, established the position of Fire Warden, whose responsibility was management of the City's fire protection function. Prior to 1889, the City was served by a number of volunteer fire companies. Following the Great Fire of 1889, which destroyed most of Seattle's commercial district, the City created a fully professional Fire Department under the direction of a Fire Chief.

1889-1892 Gardner Kellogg  
1892-9/1894 A. B. Hunt  
9/1894-12/1894 Alex J. Allen  
12/1894-7/1895 William H. Clark  
7/1895-8/1895 Ralph Cook  
8/1895-2/1901 Gardner Kellogg  
2/1901-12/1906 Ralph Cook  
12/1906-3/1910 Harry W. Bringhurst  
3/1910-5/1911 John H. Boyle  
5/1911-6/1911 William H. Clark Acting Chief
6/1911-10/1920 Frank L. Stetson  
10/1920-2/1931 George M. Mantor  
3/1931-6/1932 Robert L. Laing  
6/1932-4/1938 Claude W. Corning  
5/1938-10/1963 William Fitzgerald  
10/1963-7/1972 Gordon F. Vickery  
7/1972-8/1972 Frank R. Hanson Acting Chief until Richards confirmation
8/1972-12/1974 Jack N. Richards Removed from office by Mayor Wes Uhlman
12/1974-1/1975 Glenn Shelton Acting Chief
1/1975-12/1979 Frank R. Hanson Hanson was appointed interim Chief, then Acting Chief, and finally appointed Chief
1/1980-1984 Robert Swartout  
1984-6/1985 T. E. Gideon Acting Chief
6/1985-5/1997 Claude Harris First African-American Fire Chief
5/1997-6/2001 James E. Sewell  
6/2001-1/2004 Gary P. Morris  
2/2004-present Gregory Dean Dean served as interim chief until his permanent appointment in June 2004.