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County Fire, Police Departments mark historic ‘firsts’

By Staff | Jul 30, 2009

Mayor Charmaine Tavares poses with newly promoted Battalion Chiefs (from left) James “Kimo” Kino, Valeriano Martin, Derrick Arruda and Karl Kubo. Photos by the County of Maui.

WAILUKU — Newly promoted Maui Fire Department Battalion Chiefs Karl Kubo, Derrick Arruda, James “Kimo” Kino and Valeriano Martin were recently honored in a badge-pinning ceremony.

The event marked the first time the Fire Department simultaneously promoted four new battalion chiefs.

The promotions allowed the department to fill an existing vacancy and three newly created positions.

The department sought for eight years to increase the number of battalion chiefs from three to six to provide increased support to fire crews and incident management through the scheduling of two battalion chiefs per day.

In related news, the recent dedication of the Police Department’s first command vehicle marks the beginning of a new era of emergency management on Maui, the county reported.

Maui Police Department’s first command vehicle will provide communications support during emergency situations.

Funded by Homeland Security Grant funds and local Forfeiture funds, the command vehicle will provide mobile voice and data communications support during emergency situations.

The $902,000 custom-built truck is 40 feet long, 12’3’’ high and eight feet wide. It features striking Native Hawaiian artwork on the exterior in a shark tooth design, which represents the Maui warrior Kahekili and symbolizes the relationship between nature and mankind. The artwork was created by Uilani Nahoolewa of Uilani Art & Design.

“These are important milestones for our Police and Fire Departments,” said Mayor Charmaine Tavares.

“The state-of-the-art incident command vehicle and the unprecedented promotion of a number of battalion chiefs give these departments essential resources and support to better serve the public. Many have worked hard over the years to bring the command vehicle to Maui and increase the ranks of the battalion chiefs. Our community is benefiting from their diligence.”

Collectively, the four new battalion chiefs have a remarkable 87 years of service at nine of the department’s 14 fire stations and at the Fire Prevention Bureau.

“Our four new battalion chiefs are highly qualified, talented and dedicated individuals whose nearly nine decades of experience will benefit the department in many ways,” said Fire Chief Jeffrey Murray.

“Having an additional BC on schedule each day will also help maximize our companies’ effectiveness in incident response and management.”

Kubo began his 28-year career in 1981 and was promoted to captain in 1990; he has worked at the Paia, Makawao, Lanai, Lahaina and Wailuku Fire Stations. He resides Upcountry and enjoys outdoor activities.

Arruda was hired in 1989 and has 20 years of service working at the Lanai, Napili and Kahului Fire Stations. A rescue captain since 2002, he resides in Kokomo with his wife, Lori, and twin sons, Justin and Jordan. He enjoys fishing and surfing.

Kino was hired in 1989 and has completed 20 years of service at the Lanai, Paia, Hana, Wailea and Kahului Fire Stations. He was a rescue captain, HazMat captain, training captain and most recently a fire captain at Wailuku Fire Station. He resides in Wailuku with his wife, June, and enjoys surfing and paddling, as well as spending time with his grandson.

His son, Kaulana Kino, carries on the family’s heritage as a Maui fire fighter II with HazMat 10, along with Kimo’s brother, Rescue Captain John “Keoni” Kino, who has 23 years of service with Honolulu Fire Department/Rescue 1. The family’s inspiration comes from Kimo’s great-great-grandfather on his mother’s side, James Silas Lemon, who served in the elected position of fire chief of Honolulu’s Volunteer Fire Department from 1874 to 1878.

Martin began his 19-year career with the fire service in 1990 with the Federal Fire Department in Honolulu, and continued with the Honolulu Fire Department before transferring to Maui in 1999. He earned an Associate Degree in Fire Science from Honolulu Community College in 1991 and was promoted to Captain in 2003.

He worked at the Napili Fire Station before being promoted to fire inspector, then captain of the Fire Prevention Bureau. He resides in Kahului with his wife, Kimberly, and their three children. He enjoys outdoor activities.