Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue
Emergency Messages as of 10:55 am, Sat. Sep. 30
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News Releases
Battalion Chief retires from the fire service after long career. (Photo) - 09/28/23

Kelso, WA – After a long 29 years with Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Bert Thayer is retiring.  Thayer’s interest in the fire service stemmed from his father, Bob, who was a volunteer firefighter for 18 years.  Bert first started as a summer firefighter in 1978 for the United States Forest Service and later added Emergency Medical Training and additional fire experience in North Gilliam County (Arlington, OR), Martin Marietta Fire Brigade (Goldendale WA), and San Jose Ambulance Service (Sacramento, CA).  Thayer was hired by Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue in May of 1994 where he served as a Firefighter/Paramedic, Lieutenant, and Battalion Chief.  Bert was also heavily involved in wildland firefighting deployments where he held multiple ranks over the years including Single Resource Boss, Strike Team Leader, Task Force Leader, Air Attack Group Supervisor, and Operations Section Chief.    

Thayer earned his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certificate from Portland Community College in 1984 and his Advanced Paramedic Certificate from Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) in 1987.    

Bert was voted, by his peers, firefighter of the year and officer of the year.  He was also awarded two distinguished service awards, and numerous life safety awards while at Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue.    

As a pilot, Bert enjoys flying, boating, vacation cruises, SCUBA diving, fishing, RV trips with family and friends, and being a grandpa. He’s looking forward to all of these activities after retirement.    

Bert comments on his time on the job and at Cowlitz 2, “Most days it never felt like a job, I’m going to miss that and I’m really going to miss the people.  I know that is a cliché, but it is more than that.  People open the door to their lives and make you part of their story.  In turn, they become a part of your life story too.  I can’t express the gratitude that I have for the department and how it has allowed me to grow professionally and as a person.”    



Attached Media Files: BertPilot.jpeg , BertGear.jpeg , BertClassA.jpeg
Brush fire contained to hillside, apartments saved (Photo) - 09/15/23

Kelso, WA - Firefighters from Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue and Longview Fire Department responded to a brush fire in the trees threatening structures Thursday evening at 11:30 near North 5th Street and Church Street.  Kelso Police were able to evacuate an apartment building threatened by the fire while fire crews extinguished the fire with multiple hose lines from a structural engine and brush engines.  The fire was contained to the hillside of brush and trees at 11:50 p.m.  Three brush engines, two structural engines, and two Chief Officers responded.  Cowlitz County PUD also responded.  No damage to buildings and no injuries were reported.  The cause of the fire is undetermined.  

Construction workers & firefighters discover litter of kittens in a wall (Photo) - 09/13/23

Kelso, WA - During a walkthrough inspection construction workers and fire officials discovered a litter of kittens inside one of the newly drywalled walls at a newly constructed apartment complex at 104 Solomon Rd. 

Members of the construction company and Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue's Fire Marshal and Fire Inspector opened up a wall where a faint noise was coming from to discover six kittens.  Other than being hungry the kittens were in good health.  Fire officials drove the felines to the Humane Society of Cowlitz County where they will be cared for and up for adoption in a few weeks.   

Attached Media Files: Kitty3.jpg , Kitty2.jpg , Kitty1.jpg , Kitty4.jpg
Firefighters stop afternoon brush fire (Photo) - 09/13/23

Cowlitz County, WA – Firefighters from Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) responded to a brush fire in the 2000 block of Stella Rd Wednesday afternoon just after 2 p.m. 


Initial fire crews arrived on scene and reported an acre-sized fire, spreading at a moderate pace, with buildings were near the fire.  Firefighters stopped the spread of the fire within 20 minutes of arriving. Six brush engines, a structural engine, a water tender, and four command officers responded to the fire.  Resources from Longview Fire Department and Wahkiakum Fire Department were also requested but were canceled once the fire was controlled.  Cowlitz County Sheriff's deputies also responded to assist.  Fire officials reported the final size of the fire to be 1.23 acres.  No injuries or loss of structures were reported; the cause of the fire is under investigation. 


Fire officials emphasize that the Countywide burn ban is still in effect until further notice. 

Firefighters quickly extinguish convenience store fire (Photo) - 09/10/23

Kelso, WA – Firefighters from Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue and Longview Fire responded to a commercial fire at Boondox Gas and Grocery at 4:25 Sunday morning.  Initial fire crews arrived on scene and reported a dumpster on the back of the building fully involved with fire with some fire extension to the building.  Firefighters extinguished the exterior fire and confirmed no fire extended into the building or the roof.  The fire was extinguished at 4:49, and no injuries were reported.  Four engines, a medic unit, and a Chief Officer responded to the fire. 

Kelso police and Cowlitz County Public Utility District also responded to the incident.  Kelso Police is working with the business owner on securing their business and investigating any suspicious activity. 


Minutes later firefighters responded to a report of another fire in the rear of a nearby commercial building, Joann Fabrics.  Firefighters arrived and reported a small garbage fire in the rear alleyway and extinguished it.  Multiple transients were seen in the area during both incidents.  Private security, on scene, worked with fire officials and Kelso police to report any findings they had. 


Fire officials recommend that businesses keep dumpsters away from their buildings, if possible, and to install and maintain security cameras if they haven’t already. 


Attached Media Files: Boondox1.jpeg , Boondox2.png