Homer Volunteer Fire Department


Keeping the community ready to respond to emergencies means training and keeping local volunteers. EMT training and firefighter training starts next month at The Homer Volunteer Fire Department and at The Anchor Point Volunteer Fire Department. Kachemak Emergency Services, east of Homer, will begin their training in January of 2020. KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson spoke with local trainers, EMTs and first responders for this story.



After one month on the job, a month that has seen a plane crash, a few capsized boats and daily smoke advisories, the new chief of the Homer Volunteer Fire Department invited KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson to visit the firehouse on Pioneer Avenue to talk about his work and what it takes to train and maintain Homer’s first responders.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management

The National EAS Test will take place next week on Wednesday, August 7.
The Emergency Alert System will send a test to radio and television stations. In preparation for this test, KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson hosted a discussion on emergency preparedness with Homer’s Volunteer Fire Department  Chief Mark Kirko, outgoing fire chief, Robert Purcell, Lieutenant Ryan Browning from the Homer Police Department and Dan Nelson from the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management. 

Protect your home from wildfire

Jul 2, 2019
AK Division of Forestry

As smoke from the Swan Lake Fire near Sterling fills the air on the southern Kenai Peninsula, many homeowners and residents are thinking about fire danger and how to protect their homes and property from wildfire.

Robert Purcell, interim fire chief of the Homer Volunteer Fire Department said the fire danger in the area is high and climbing. As well, Purcell said, firefighting resources from the state Division of Forestry are heavily tapped right now, so another significant fire would be a real challenge to respond to.

City of Homer

The City of Homer hired a new fire chief last week. Mark Kirko will replace Terry Kadel, who left the Homer Volunteer Fire Department in December.

According to the city’s website, Kirko is currently the fire chief of North Whidbey Fire and Rescue in Oak Harbor, Washington. He oversees six staff members, about 75 part-time and on-call volunteer firefighters and EMS workers.

But Kirko spent most of his 34-year-long career in Alaska, and he told city officials that he is eager to return.

Photo by Daysha Eaton/KBBI

The Homer Volunteer Fire Department is understaffed and is struggling to retain volunteer firefighters and EMTs. That was the message interim Fire Chief Robert Purcell gave to the Homer City Council during a presentation Monday. Fewer volunteers and limited staffing means longer response times, and that’s already affecting homeowners’ insurance rates.

Interim Fire Chief Robert Purcell says the Homer Volunteer Fire Department is suffering.  The insurance Services Office or ISO is a data analytics firm that evaluates risk for homeowner’s and commercial insurance providers.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Updated: 2:52 p.m. Dec. 28, 2018 

A home explosion closed the Sterling Highway Thursday evening near mile 166 just north of Diamond Ridge Road. The Sterling Highway remained closed until the early morning hours Friday, blocking access to and from Homer.

The blast shook the rural neighborhood shortly after 10:00 p.m. and sent debris flying hundreds of feet away. Several area residents and drivers reported the explosion and debris on the road shortly after.

Courtesy of City of Homer

The Homer Volunteer Fire Department has a new interim fire chief. Robert Purcell originally joined the Homer Fire Department as a volunteer in 1979 and eventually served as fire chief. He retired from the department in 1999 before working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In a press release, City manager Katie Koester said she could not express how pleased she was to have Purcell’s knowledge and experience returning to the department this week.

Purcell will work to update the city’s emergency operations plan and craft a recovery plan.

The city is on the hunt for a new fire chief

Dec 5, 2018
Photo by KBBI

The Homer Volunteer Fire Department is seeking a new fire chief. According to a City of Homer press release, Former Chief Terry Kadel is no longer with the department after taking over the position just eight months ago.

The release quoted City Manager Katie Koester wishing Kadel luck on his future endeavors, though it did not disclose why Kadel is no longer serving as fire chief.

Photo courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer Volunteer Fire Department and Kachemak Emergency Services responded to a house fire in Homer early Friday morning.

The Homer Fire Department was notified of the fire off East Danview Avenue at about 5:23 a.m. According to Homer Fire Chief Terry Kadel, the blaze was likely caused by a citronella candle burning on the front porch of the home.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Late last month, firefighters stomped out three fires in just a couple of days. Two of those blazes burned mostly grass and trees, but one burned a cabin and everything inside to the ground. Alonzo Lang rented the cabin on his friend’s property. Now, he’s rebuilding both his own life and his 4-year-old daughter’s. But he’s not doing it alone.

Lang is feeding his two pet pigs.

Kadel takes over as fire chief

Mar 27, 2018
Courtesy of the City of Homer

Acting chief of the Homer Volunteer Fire Department Terry Kadel has been appointed to the position permanently. Kadel took over the position as acting chief in late January after former Fire Chief Bob Painter retired. He took on the position officially last week.

Kadel has eighteen years of experience as an EMT and came to the Homer fire department after working with the Girdwood Volunteer Fire Department for 20 years. He began as a volunteer there and eventually worked his way up to deputy fire chief in 2001.

Homer Fire Gets Boost Through Remodel, Grants

Aug 31, 2016
Photo by Daysha Eaton/KBBI

Homer Volunteer Fire Department has started a remodeling project to improve their Pioneer Avenue building.

Fire Chief Bob Painter says the project has been underway for about two weeks. He says the remodel is the result of two and half years of planning.

The $1,000,000 project was funded by the City of Homer after the department was removed from the plans for a new public safety building.

Homer Fire Wins Grant for Assistant Fire Chief

Aug 29, 2016
Photo by KBBI

The City of Homer has received a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant through Homeland Security for an assistant fire chief at the Homer Volunteer Fire Department.