SPOKANE, Wash. – Local residents can meet the five finalists selected to continue in the interview process for Spokane Fire Chief at a community forum Thursday night.

The City of Spokane held a nation-wide search that led to 28 applicants. Twenty applicants met the minimum qualifications and were invited to submit video interviews, as well as 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 90-minute forum will be held 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.

Before the forum, candidates will interview with three panels made up of community and civic leaders. The panels will focus on leadership, finance, fire and business operations, and community engagement.