James Fossos, far right, stands with his fellow SKFR fire commissioners and Fire Chief Vic Pennington at a commissioner's meeting on Feb. 26, 2019. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Former South King Fire Commissioner James Fossos dies at 75

Fossos served as a fire commissioner for over 27 years.

Former South King Fire & Rescue Commissioner James Fossos has died, the fire department announced on Jan. 20.

He died on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at age 75.

“Fossos was truly a passionate man who loved his family, his country, the Marine Corps, and the fire service,” said Bill Gates, SKFR board chair. “We are thankful for all his years at South King Fire and Rescue and our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Fossos was first elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners of King County Fire District 26 in 1993, and reelected in 1999. Upon the inception of South King Fire and Rescue, Fossos was reelected to the board in 2005, 2011 and 2017.

After more than 27 years as a fire commissioner, Fossos resigned from the board on Feb. 29, 2020 due to a medical event, the department stated.

Fossos’s fire service career began in 1970 as a firefighter with the Seattle Fire Department until his retirement in March 2001. Prior to becoming a Seattle firefighter, he served as a United States Marine in the Vietnam War.

He earned an associate degree from Seattle Community College in fire command, administration, supervisory and management.

According to the department, Fossos served as vice president of the Retired FireFighter’s of Washington and as the deputy vice president of the 1st Marine Division Association.


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