Kyle Ohashi, second from the left, will retire at the end of June after 15 years as the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority public information officer and 30 years with the department. COURTESY PHOTO

Kyle Ohashi, second from the left, will retire at the end of June after 15 years as the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority public information officer and 30 years with the department. COURTESY PHOTO

Ohashi retiring after 15 years as Puget Sound Fire public information officer

Worked 30 years for Kent department

Kyle Ohashi has appeared regularly on local news channels, websites and in newspapers as the public information officer (PIO) for the Kent-based Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority for the last 15 years.

But those days of informing the public about fires and fire safety will come to a halt the end of June when Ohashi retires after 30 years with the department.

“I’ll miss 2 a.m. phone calls, blinding camera lights and answering the same question eight different times,” Ohashi said in an email about his retirement to media members and to thank them for making his PIO job “easy and enjoyable.”

Joe Root, who has been with Puget Sound Fire for more than 28 years, will replace Ohashi.

“I’m retiring to Gig Harbor and Rancho Mirage (California), traveling and sleeping in,” Ohashi said in an email to the Kent Reporter. “That’s all I have planned so far.”

Ohashi joined the then-Kent Fire Department in 1990 after working several years as a restaurant manager. An incident he witnessed at an airport hotel lounge caused him to become a firefighter, according to a Kent Reporter city profile story.

Ohashi went to the club to hear a band he knew through his restaurant job. He and the rest of the crowd had to clear out after a man suffered a heart attack. He saw another man administer CPR to the man right after the incident. He found out the next day from a friend in the band that the fire department had shown up and revived the man.

“I thought that was very cool to have that great of an outcome,” Ohashi said in the article.

A short while later, Ohashi heard about openings in the Kent and Renton fire departments. He applied and Kent hired him in 1990.

“I wanted something where I could work with people and the public and where I could have more of a career opportunity,” said Ohashi, who majored in business at Western Washington University in Bellingham after he graduated from Kentridge High School.

In addition to working with the media by handling phone calls and emails and writing press releases about fires, Ohashi worked to help inform schools, businesses and homeowners about fire safety.

“It’s time to move on.” Ohashi said about retiring. “The department is improving and changing the position, so having someone new is ideal.”

Root starts new job

Root, meanwhile, has served as a firefighter, engineer, engine company officer, hazardous materials response team captain and was most recently serving as a code enforcement officer, according to a news release from Puget Sound Fire.

He brings a wide range of experience that will be invaluable while representing the department, according to the release.

More in News

VoteWA is a $9.5 million program that came online last May and is meant to unify all 39 county voting systems in the state into a single entity. Courtesy image
WA’s new voting system concerns county elections officials

VoteWA has run into some problems in recent months as the Aug. 6 primary election draws closer.

‘Feedback loops’ of methane, CO2 echo environmental problem beyond Washington

University of Washington among researchers of climate change’s effects in global temperatures.

Early wake-up call: Twin quakes under Monroe rattle region

Thousands of people felt them. They were magnitude 4.6 and 3.5 and hit minutes apart.

Courtesy image
King County could loan 4Culture $20 million

The loan would be repaid by the organization and used to help serve marginalized communities.

Courtesy photo
King County Sheriff’s Office has been giving ICE unredacted information

Both the office and jail have supplied the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

A map highlighting the areas affected by a development moratorium the Maple City Council passed during the Monday, July 8, regular meeting.
                                Photo courtesy of the City of Maple Valley.
Maple Valley hits pause on development near Legacy Site

City says a six-month moratorium will help it plan for downtown

Rosalie Fish made a bold statement when she ran the Class 1B state meet at Eastern Washington with a painted, red handprint over her mouth.
Cowlitz Tribe activist to speak at Rotary meeting

Rosalie Fish will discuss unjust treatment against Native American women

Get freaky – Art Commission seeks actors

The Maple Valley Creative Arts Council is working on a new project,… Continue reading

Black Diamond under burn ban

Mountain View Fire has an annual burn ban for “yard vegetation open… Continue reading

Most Read