Alaska Association of Fire & Arson Investigators
P.O Box 671468 | Chugiak, AK 99567 | afi@alaskafireinvestigators.org

A.A.F.A.I - 2017 Officers



PRESIDENT - Donald Cuthbert

Don Cuthbert started his fire service career in 1979 as a firefighter in the State of New Jersey.  In 1988, Don began investigating fires and retired in 2001.  After retirement, he moved to Alaska and was employed with the State Fire Marshal's Office until 2007.  He currently serves as a fire code official and responding firefighter for the Central Mat-Su Fire Department in Wasilla, AK.

 

Don maintains certifications as an ICC Fire Inspector II, ICC Building Plans Examiner, ICC Mechanical Inspector, IFSAC Fire Service Instructor I, NAFI CFEI, and CFII. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science from the University of Maryland University College and an Associate's Degree in Fire Science from the University of Alaska Anchorage.  He serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Alaska Anchorage and teaches fire investigation and other portions of the fire science program there.

Vice-President - Dave Meneses

Dave started his career in construction in Texas and Arizona building single family and Multi-family homes. After five years, he changed direction and moved into water/wastewater facility management for the City of Eloy, Arizona.  He also joined Eloy Fire Department in 1988 and operated as an attack firefighter and engineer.  During his tenure for the City of Eloy, he transferred to the engineering department and became an Engineering Technician-I.  This included all aspects of building inspection and plan review. Dave worked as an Engineering Tech for five years before becoming interested in a position in Alaska. While working for both the City of Eloy and its fire department he witnessed the cause and origin of fires and was then able to inspect the damage.Starting January 1998, he took the position of Building Inspector for the City of Palmer.  He conducts all plan reviews for residential, public, and commercial construction.  He's responsible for inspecting all disciplines during construction.  This includes building foundations and framing, electrical systems, mechanical systems, plumbing and any other specialty requirements as needed.  He evaluates structures after fires and other catastrophic incidents where the structure may be compromised.   He joined Palmer Fire & Rescue after getting to Palmer and worked his way up to a Captain.  He's currently an Engineer.  He's also currently a Post-Disaster Damage Assessment certified evaluator and qualified to instruct others. With his varied experience in all aspects of fire and building, he has a unique perspective.  

SECRETARY & TREASURER - Gary Thomas

Gary has been a volunteer with the Homer Volunteer Fire Department, since his arrival in Alaska in 1979. His service with the Homer department has included, Firefighter, EMT, Engineer, Captain, Assistant Fire Chief, Interim Acting Fire Chief, and Fire Investigator. Gary also serves with the neighboring department, Kachemak Emergency Services, and is currently a Fire Captain with the KES department.

In addition to his volunteer service with the Fire Service, Gary has held management positions with John Deere Equipment both in their manufacturing and marketing divisions. Gary was the General Manager for Homer’s Public Radio station, KBBI for 10 years, and was the President and CEO for Tom Bodett’s Talent and Creative companies, Bodett & Co, Inc, and Clearshot Productions, Inc. Gary also was the Publisher of the Homer News (Homer’s weekly local newspaper) for 8 years. Gary left the Homer News to start his own Property Management and Security Company, “Housewatch”, which he recently sold.

Gary has been investigating fires, and teaching fire investigation classes in the Southwest Kenai Peninsula since 1984. Gary first became a member of the Alaska Association of Fire and Arson Investigators in 1990. He has been a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators since 2011. Gary received his Fire Investigation training through the National Fire Academy, and is currently an Alaska State Certified Fire Investigator.

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