Bayside Fire Department has a new chief

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Kodiak’s Bayside Fire Department has a new chief. Scott Ellis joins the crew after more than three decades as a firefighter on the east coast. 

Ellis spent most of his life in Connecticut and was getting ready to retire, when he found out he and his wife were about to have their seventh child. It inspired him to take another look at his career and think about where he would like to raise the newest member of the family. 

Ellis stands in front of one of Bayside Fire Department’s trucks, July 26, 2023. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

He originally applied to move to Kodiak when the job opened two years ago, but the timing didn’t work out then. 

“I was given an amazingly gifted second opportunity to go through the process and wind up here in Kodiak,” Ellis said. 

He said he was excited to come to the community about a week ago. After accepting the job this time, he drove through Canada with his family’s dogs. His wife and kids still at home flew to the island.

Ellis started as a cadet when he was still in high school and became a full-fledged firefighter after graduating. Before moving to Kodiak, Ellis served as second-in-command at a fire department in Connecticut. Ellis succeeds Lee Finlayson as Bayside’s fire chief.

Ellis said while he didn’t have any roots in Alaska, his wife was born on the Coast Guard Base here in Kodiak. The family talked about moving back, and he said they plan to be in Kodiak a long time. 

Fire Chief Ellis, during his fifth day on the job, July 26, 2023. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

“If the good citizens of Kodiak will have us, and more particularly me, our goal is that my daughter graduates from Kodiak High. So that’s, we’re talking 12 years out at least.” 

He said his goal in Kodiak is to be as transparent as possible and ensure engagement with the community. 

“Doors are open, stop in!” Ellis said. “Kids want to see the fire trucks? Come in, we’ll take time, show them the fire trucks, answer any questions you may have. If you ever thought about volunteering and being a paid per call firefighter here in Kodiak , I’d love to talk to you about that.” 

He said some of his plans include better connecting with Kodiak residents and talking to kids at schools, and keeping up to date with the department’s social media. 

When not at work, the Ellis family can be found hiking around or walking the various beaches around the island. 

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