Fire Chiefs and Fire Commissioners



Jason Van der Veen 

Division Chief / Operations

Division Chief of Operations Jason Van der Veen was born in Seattle and raised in Bellevue. He relocated to Whatcom County in 1994. Jason, his wife Meagan and their seven children reside in Lynden.

Chief Van der Veen began his fire service career by graduating from the WA State Fire Academy in 1998. He became part of the North Whatcom Fire and Rescue family in February 2007. Through his diligence and hard work, Jason was promoted to the position of lieutenant in 2010 and then to ops chief in 2019.

Chief Van der Veen was raised by parents who set a wonderful example of selfless service to others. He tries to emulate these attributes and pass them on to both his children and coworkers.


Herschel Rostov

Division Chief / Fire Marshal

Division Chief / Fire Marshal Chief Rostov was hired by NWFR in May, 2019. He was born in Seattle and grew up in the South Seattle, Rainier Beach and Skyway area. He moved to Clinton, Whidbey Island in 2011 and just recently relocated to Custer. He has one daughter who is attending Whatcom Community College. Chief Rostov attended private school through high school and received a general AA from South Seattle College, Fire Command AA from Bellevue College and is currently working on a Bachelor’s degree in Fire Science from Anna Maria College. Chief Rostov has moved up the ranks in his fire service career from volunteer firefighter at King County in 1992; career firefighter beginning in 1996; assistant fire marshal (15 years) and fire marshal (5 years), all at Mercer Island Fire. Before relocating, Chief Rostov was very involved with local youth soccer in Tukwila as a coach, assistant coach and VP coach. In his spare time, he enjoys camping, hiking, fishing and target shooting. Chief Rostov will bring a new perspective to both the prevention and inspection program.

FIRE COMMISSIONERS  The District 4 Board of Fire Commissioners currently consists of three commissioners that meet monthly to discuss the issues of the district.  Commissioners are elected to a six-year term and can serve continuously if re-elected.


Commissioner Andrews

Commissioner Andrews is a retired International Captain for Delta Airlines serving over 34 years.  He served in the United States Marine Corps before joining Delta Airlines. He has served as a fire commissioner for six years in Whatcom County fire district 6 before being elected to the  District 4 Board of Commissioners.  Commissioner Andrews has also  served as a volunteer fire fighter.  Married for over 44 years, he has seven grand children.  Additional county involvement includes serving on the Board of Directors for the Whatcom County Support Officers Community Care, and the WhatcomCounty EMS Planning Committee.  Commissioner Andrews has lived in Whatcom County since 1995.




Commissioner Melillo

Commissioner Melillo was raised in Bellingham (District 4 area) and graduated from Sehome High School. She received a degree in communication from WWU in 2002 and has been involved in the fire service since 2010. She attended the Whatcom County Recruit Academy in 2011 and volunteered for both South Whatcom Fire Authority and District 18. Her credentials include FF1, FF2, Hazmat Ops, Wildland, EMT and IV Tech. Commissioner Melillo is currently a career firefighter with the Arlington Fire Department.

Previous community involvement includes volunteering for the Arthritis Foundation, Kulshan Middle School PTA, and various fire service public education and fundraisers.

Commissioner Melillo is eager to represent her community!


Commissioner Hanson

David Hanson is a local safety consultant specializing in providing safety leadership, safety oversight and strategic planning in the areas of work place safety and emergency response.

Prior to starting his safety training and consulting business in 2008, Dave’s career included 20 years working as a safety professional in the oil and gas industry where he held numerous positions to include serving as a fire team captain and brigade fire chief. Dave has been active in the county fire service for over 30 years to include serving 12 years as an elected fire commissioner, six of those years serving as the President of the Whatcom County Fire Commissioners Association.

After leaving his volunteer and professional careers in the fire and safety industry, Dave has continued to provide executive leadership support to various companies and organizations on an interim basis.

Dave is a founding partner in West Coast Safety Services dedicated to providing risk management support to a diversified client base. He also serves as Vice President of Safety West Coast Services, a one stop safety shop where he and his team provide a wide range of safety training and health services to a diversified group of companies.

Dave is a past member of numerous safety and emergency response boards as noted below.

  • Whatcom County Fire Commissioners Association
  • American Society of Safety Engineers
  • The American Red Cross Mt Baker Chapter
  • WHAT-COM 911 Advisory Board
  • Ambulance Advisory Board of Whatcom County
  • Governor’s Fuel Accident Prevention and Response Team
  • Critical Incident Stress Management Team

Dave has also served as a safety officer with the county-wide HAZMAT Response Team (SERP) and the county-wide Major Incident Response Team (MIST)

In August 1999, Dave was appointed by Washington State Governor Gary Locke, to serve on a special task force charged with reviewing the state of pipeline safety for Washington State in response to the tragic pipeline explosion that occurred in Bellingham on June 10,, 1999. More recently Dave served as part of a Federal DOT Incident Response Team that provided support and leadership for the Deep Water Horizon spill that occurred on April 20, 2010.

Dave is married with two grown children. He and his wife, Darla, reside in Bellingham, WA, where he and his family are very active in supporting their community.

Today Dave is dedicating much of his time working as a private consultant specializing in emergency response and occupational health and safety.