SPOKANE, Wash. – Five finalists have been selected to continue in the interview process as the City of Spokane works to select a new fire chief.

A nation-wide search led to 28 applicants. Twenty applicants met the minimum qualifications and were invited to submit video interviews and supplemental questions for consideration. Seventeen candidates submitted materials before the selection committee narrowed the search to five finalists.

The five finalists include:

• Helen Ahrens-Byinton, Deputy Chief of Operations for the Kirkland Fire Department

• Jason Nicholl, Battalion Chief of the South Salt Lake Fire Department

• Tony Nielsen, Fire Chief of Spokane County Fire District 8

• Charles ‘Andy’ Sannipoli, Assistant Fire Chief for Administration and Planning for the Durham Fire Department

• Brian Schaeffer, Interim Fire Chief and Assistant Chief for the Spokane Fire Department

The candidates will interview on May 11 with three panels made up of community and civic leaders, fire representatives and City Council members. City of Spokane Communications Director Brian Coddington said the panels will focus on leadership, finance, fire and business operations, and community engagements.

Following the panels, each candidate will participate in a 90-minute community forum at the East Central Community Center beginning at 6:00 p.m. Each candidate will give an opening statement and participate in small group discussions with the public.