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South Thurston Fire & EMS was recently formed by the merger of Thurston County Fire District #12 (Tenino)  and Thurston County Fire District #16 (Gibson Valley). The district now covers 76 square miles and serves almost 9,000 residents.  Our average call volume is over 1,000 per year. South Thurston is a combination department with 6 full-time, 24hr personnel and 27 volunteers.



South Thurston Fire & EMS was officially formed in 2017 after the merger of Thurston County Fire Districts #12 an #16. The merger marked a new beginning for the two districts and their personnel.


The mission of South Thurston Fire & EMS is to protect and preserve the lives and property of the citizens within its boundaries to the best of our ability with the equipment and training provided to us.


We strive to improve our abilities and knowledge to better serve our citizens. The district is always trying to stay up to date with ever changing standards and requirements of the fire service.


Our members serve the community with pride.​​



The city of Tenino fire department was started in 1910, 3 years after the city had incorporated. The first firefighting equipment purchased by the city were a couple of hose carts, hose and nozzles. Mr. Leslie J. Johnson was the first fire chief, serving the first 40 years for the department.

At the time, the firefighters didn't have any formal training and it led to a reorganization after a fire in 1952. At that point, the personnel were trained through the State Fire Service Training Program.

In 1941 the department received a 1941 military surplus fire truck with a 500 gallon per minute pump and 350 gallon tank. 

Thurston County Fire District 12 was formed in 1962 to provide fire protection to the unincorporated areas of Tenino. A new station was built behind Tenino City Hall and housed both City of Tenino and District 12 equipment. 


In the late 1960s, Plectrons were purchased to alert firefighters of calls. Other equipment, such as, chain saws, breathing apparatus, and bunker gear were also purchased.

Thurston County Fire District 16

We are still gathering information. Please check back.

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