Eric Smythe takes over as EMS/training head

Eric Smythe began work this month as Columbia River Fire & Rescue's new emergency medical services and training division chief, CRF&R Chief Jay Tappan announced Friday, Jan. 17.

Smythe succeeds longtime former EMS Chief Brian Burright, who retired last July. His responsibilities include administering EMS and training programs at the fire district, which covers the St. Helens and Rainier areas.

“Eric competed extremely well and we selected him because he is, without a doubt, the best fit for this very important position for the fire district,” Tappan said in a statement released by CRF&R. “We had an excellent slate of candidates for this position and this was not an easy decision, but we really liked Eric’s positive outlook, passion for the job, and team-oriented attitude.”

According to the CRF&R, the “highly competitive” and “very rigorous” interview and recruitment effort drew applications from as far away as Florida and Massachusetts.

Smythe was hired out of the Upland Fire District in southern California, where he worked for the past five years as a station captain. Before that, he served with the Mohave Valley Fire Department in Arizona and the San Bernardino County Fire Department in California.

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