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Captain Wolcott and Firefighter Ehlers make history as first father and daughter serving together in the Seattle Fire Department

SEATTLE – Captain Gordon Wolcott was pleased to pin the badge on his daughter Firefighter Raechel Ehlers when she was officially sworn in as a Seattle Firefighter/EMT on March 7, 2024. While the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) has many legacy children who have followed in their parents’ footsteps, Raechel and Gordon have made history by becoming the department’s first father/daughter duo.

The Wolcott family comes from a long line of public servants. Gordon’s parents were public school teachers, and his grandfather was a preacher. Growing up in Seattle, Gordon first became interested in the fire service when he was running a personal training business out of his garage gym and learned about the opportunity through a client. While living life as a competitive power lifter and working small business jobs, he took the firefighting test and joined the SFD as part of Recruit Class 61 in 1992. Gordon has spent time working on Engines 28, 37 and Ladders 12 and 4, and also served time as the Confidence Testing Lieutenant at the Fire Prevention Division. In 1997 he promoted to Lieutenant and in 2002 to Captain. He is currently stationed at Fire Station 37 in West Seattle as the Captain of Engine 37.

Now, 30 years later, he is joined at the department by his daughter. Prior to starting her career with SFD, Raechel worked as a lifeguard for the City of Seattle and in the administrative offices at Vashon Island Fire and Rescue. She also served as a volunteer firefighter with Vashon. Raechel graduated from West Seattle High School and has a Bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State University in Psychology and Human Development. In their time away from the department, both Gordon and Raechel help with the family business of operating the Vashon Theatre.

Raechel said working for the SFD has “felt like coming home.” She recalls times from her younger years of observing her dad and his crew and the feeling of being part of the fire family. “Raechel was never scared to do anything, she has no fear,” said Captain Wolcott. “We have always strived to be of service to anybody and everybody.”

Firefighter Ehlers served her probationary period at Fire Station 38 in Hawthorne Hills. She is currently working a several month stint on a busy aid car in downtown Seattle, serving some of the City’s most vulnerable people. Raechel’s regular assignment is at Fire Station 26 in South Park. She has aspirations to one day work on a ladder truck, just as her father did at the beginning of his career.

While they aren’t able to serve on the same crew, they hope to one day be fighting the same fire together. Most recently, they were able to drill together, and now, they can add firefighting as a topic of conversation to their coffee and dinner catch-ups. The question remains of whether Raechel’s children (aged 9 and 14) will continue the family legacy when they grow up.