Spokane County Fire District 4 has a new assistant fire chief, but Howard Johnson is no stranger to the district. He grew up in it and has worked the district since 1993.
Johnson grew up on Chattaroy Road not too far from a fire station. His parents, Howard Johnson Jr. and Kay Johnson, were both volunteer firefighters. He was accustomed to having their pagers going off during dinners or family events.
“It was just what they did,” he said.
But strangely, Johnson never considered becoming a firefighter. “I was never really one of those kids who wanted to be a firefighter,” he said.
After he turned 18 his mother asked if he had ever considered joining the department as a volunteer. He hadn’t. “It wasn’t until she asked me,” he said.
He spent the last few months of his senior year and the following summer volunteering with the department. He enjoyed it, but didn’t consider it a career possibility.