Fire Chiefs and Fire Commissioners

FIRE CHIEFS

Joe Noonchester
Interim Fire Chief
Jnoonchester@nwfrs.com


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.

Herschel Rostov
Division Chief – Fire Marshal
hrostov@nwfrs.com

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.

Jason Van der Veen 

Division Chief / Operations

jvanderveen@nwfrs.com

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.

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!