Former Littlerock fire chief, 94, tours West Thurston Regional Fire Authority


The West Thurston Regional Fire Authority welcomed one of Littlerock Fire Rescue’s earliest fire chiefs, Marion Smith, for a tour of its Littlerock station on Friday, Oct. 6. 

Littlerock Fire Rescue, also known as Thurston County Fire District 1, was formed in 1947 and covered 55 square miles in Thurston County until it consolidated with the Grand Mound fire district, Thurston County Fire District 11, in the 2010s to become the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. 

Smith, now 94, served as chief for Littlerock Fire Rescue from 1961 to 1974, when he retired at the age of 49. He continued to serve as a volunteer and as chair of the fire commissioner board until the mid 1980s. 

One of Smith’s daughter’s, Dwee Baker, went into the fire station earlier this month to ask about touring the station with her father, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Chief Rob Smith. 

“As it turned out, a departing gift to me from our recently retired fire chief, Russ Kaleiwahea, was Marion Smith’s nameplate as chair of the board,” Rob Smith said, adding that, while there is no relation between the two Chief Smiths, Kaleiwahea had placed Marion Smith’s name plate on Rob Smith’s door when he started as chief since Rob Smith’s own name plate hadn’t arrived yet. 

“We have no other name plates from former board members or chiefs, but I had Marion’s!” Rob Smith said. “When I overheard Dwee talking to our administrative director about the station tour, I pulled the nameplate out, approached her and asked her, showing her the nameplate, ‘Is this your father?” and she gasped “Yes! He doesn’t know you have that!’” Rob Smith recalled. “When I introduced myself as chief with her father’s nameplate, let’s say it was an emotional event for all of us.” 

Rob Smith presented Marion Smith with his name plate during the tour on Friday “and (he) couldn’t have been more surprised,” Rob Smith said. “We were smitten to see him, as he is a legend in his own right.” 

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