Fire Chiefs and Fire Commissioners


Joe Noonchester
Interim Fire Chief

Interim fire Chief Noonchester is originally from Arizona and grew up enjoying the heat, and the warm water in the nearby lakes. After graduating from high school, Noonchester relocated to the Denver area where he finished his Bachelor’s degree and started a family. His two children, Kaitlyn and Samuel, are now grown and are scattered around the world. Kaitlyn works as a dental assistant in Seattle and Sam serves in the Airforce, stationed in England.

Noonchester joined the fire service about fifteen years ago in Las Vegas. There, he started as a reserve firefighter/EMT for the Boulder City Fire Department. During the entrance process of becoming a paramedic, he was offered a full-time position in Stanwood, WA. He and his family established a new life in western WA in the fire service.

After several years in Snohomish County, Joe moved to Whatcom County to continue his career. After working with the City of Lynden, he became part of the NWF family as the training officer. Wanting to advance his education, the department sponsored him to attend the National Fire Academy EFOP.

With some major life changes, Joe is newly re-married to a wonderful woman and enjoys Bellingham as his home.

Henry Hollander
Division Chief – Support Services

Division Chief Hollander was born in Hilversom, Holland. His family relocated to Lethbridge, Alberta before settling in Santa Barbara, California where he graduated from Santa Barbara High School.  He went on to study business administration at Santa Barbara City College. Eventually, Chief Hollander headed north and established a home in Blaine. Chief Hollander was a private business owner for twenty-five years prior to becoming interested volunteering as a firefighter for the City of Blaine. Chief Hollander was hired as a career firefighter in 1999. Since then he has held various roles including Assistant Chief from 1996 until 2011 when he accepted the role of Division Chief of Support Services. Chief Hollander has represented the district commendably, offering his assistance during the Thailand Tsunami, Helious airline crash and hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Chief Hollander has been part of the mergers between the City of Blaine, District 3 and District 13 and the recent consolidation with Fire District 4. He continues to challenge himself and comes up with ways to benefit the district by assisting with the development of a state of the art computer system; designed the VOID telephone system for five stations; brought AVL to the district; supervises a fully certified EVT repair shop. He also assisted with the purchase of three new engines and a used ladder truck. Chief Hollander enjoys spending time with his wife Cathy, three children and two grandchildren. Also he enjoys singing barbershop music.

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 Neal has lived in Fire District 4 since 1993. She works as an insurance agent with Aflac. She was raised in Federal Way, graduating from Seattle Christian High School. After earning a journalism degree from Western Washington University in 1991, she was hired as a reporter for the Lynden Tribune. Government reporting was a large part of her newspaper duties, but writing feature stories was a personal favorite. Her love of people is what led her to a new career in insurance in 2003. Past community involvement includes serving on the Support Officer Community Care and the Lighthouse Mission boards. 

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 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!