Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Willow/Caswell Get a New Fire Chief

Mat-Su | Stefan Hinman | Friday, April 12, 2019

The Mat-Su Borough welcomes Victor Snell as the new Willow and Caswell Fire Chief. He was officially introduced to his crew on April 9 to a warm reception where he addressed them and laid out his vision. He stressed the power of community, it’s effectiveness and the challenges of willingly doing a job that often will not get recognized as the sacrifice it is.

Willow is known as the official race start of the Iditarod as well as the infamous 2015 Sockeye fire that burned 7,220 acres, 55 homes and 44 structures.

Chief Snell's 41 year career in front line firefighting and command encompasses a diversified background of experience. Stepping into the shoes, like so many of his family members, he began as a volunteer with a passion to learn and make a difference in his community. He progressed to the Air Force fire protection for 4 years followed by 20 years of municipal fire service and another 13 years working for a major oil company on Alaska’s North Slope. 

He has served in all ranks from fire fighter to acting battalion chief in municipal service to Fire Chief for BP. His background in engine, tender, rescue, hazmat operations, emergency medical first response as well as platoon command makes him a welcome addition to a resource challenged, rural Fire Service Area where the latest equipment isn’t always available. He believes experience and good leadership play a big part in a  community such as this. “This place just feels like home... I look forward to serving this community.”