Washington News

Friday, September 21, 2018

Kennewick Fire Dept. awarded $2.3M SAFER grant for more firefighters

Kennewick Professional Firefighters announced on their Facebook page that the Kennewick Fire Department is one of the recipients of the SAFER Grant through FEMA. "What is the SAFER grant?" The Facebook page asked rhetorically, then explaining: "The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the NFPA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720)." KFD says this means they were awarded $2.3 million to hire an additional 12 front line firefighters... along with the six currently in recruit academy.

Spokane Fire Department increases response size near homeless shelter after threats, vandalism

The Spokane Fire Department is changing how it answers calls after threats against on-duty firefighters going to help near a downtown homeless shelter. According to Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer, people have tagged equipment and threatened firefighters. "They've been armed by what we would identify as weapons, pipes and other methods of blunt force trauma," Schaeffer said. "We've had our equipment tagged, damaged, and one of the ambulances was entered and attempted to be stolen while they attempted to take care of patients." That's why, about three months ago, changes came to the department. Schaeffer said now an extra vehicle goes and at least six people respond to calls for help near the homeless shelter. Some firefighters are there to help with what's usually a medical emergency, while others look out for any danger.

Skagit County Fire District 6 receives grant for fill station

Skagit County Fire District 6 will no longer have to rely on neighboring departments to fill its breathing apparatus tanks after receiving a $69,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant. The money will be used to purchase an air compressor and filling station for the district’s self-contained breathing apparatus packs. Until now, the rural volunteer fire department west of Burlington has traveled to fire stations in Alger, Burlington and west of Mount Vernon to fill its air tanks — a process Fire Chief Paul Wagner said can take hours. Having the machine in-house will increase response times by keeping firefighters in their district. “We’re not driving somewhere else and having to rush back,” Wagner said. “That’s the big thing.” Wagner said the district will order the equipment next week, and will likely have it up and running in two to four months.
Skagit Valley Herald (GoSkagit.com)

Battle Ground man tried to save victim from fiery fatal crash

Steven Gorbet doesn’t know why he decided to try to rescue an apparently unconscious man stuck in a vehicle that veered off Interstate 5 on Tuesday night, hitting a tree and catching fire. Gorbet simply jumped into action. “I don’t know,” Gorbet said in a phone interview. “I just kind of did it.” The Battle Ground resident was southbound on the freeway shortly before midnight, headed home from a hunting trip in the Leavenworth area, when he noticed what he thought was a small brush fire. It turned out an SUV had crashed into a tree and was burning from its engine. The driver of the vehicle died. The Washington State Patrol said that the unidentified driver behind the wheel of an SUV was southbound on I-5 at Milepost 10 in the center lane when it struck the rear right of a Nissan Versa sedan. It left the roadway to the right, hit a tree in a ditch and caught fire, troopers said. The driver of the Nissan was uninjured. Two Fire District 6 fire engines were dispatched to the crash scene, spokesman Dave Schmitke said.
Vancouver Columbian

U.S. Army vet, Spokane firefighter running for mayor

Shawn Poole isn't a career politician. In fact, he calls himself a "working class, knuckle-dragging firefighter," who has spent his entire life as a public servant. "Civil servitude is about giving back to the community," said Poole. "And my entire adult life I've been a servant." Poole is running for mayor of Spokane. The 54-year-old believes voters will relate to his working class attitude. "If I get elected I owe it to the people to do what is right for them," said Poole. "City government has got to the point where they're going to do what's best for City Hall and everybody else out there - your voice doesn't matter." Poole graduated from Shadle Park High School in 1982. Upon graduation, he attended the University of Montana. There, Poole played football and participated in R.O.T.C. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology/Criminal Justice in 1987, he entered active duty with the United States Army.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Explosions reported at commercial blaze in Kent

Puget Sound firefighters were on the scene of a commercial fire in the 22600 block of S. 228th St. in Kent early Thursday morning that caused major damage to a welding and fabrication shop. According to Puget Sound Fire's Twitter page, there were no injuries reported, but there was a propane tank burning on the outside of the building. There were some explosions inside the building as firefighters battled the blaze. The fire was called in about 3:30 a.m., but it might have been burning for a while before a passerby reported it, firefighters said. The cause of the fire is unknown. As of 4:30 a.m., it was a two-alarm fire and firefighters were pulled back to a "safe zone," but the fire was under control by 5:15 a.m. Firewalls between tenant spaces helped to prevent the fire from spreading, but a neighboring glass works business was also damaged.

Douglas County’s Pangborn Memorial Airport provides home base for wildfire coordination

Wildfire coordination efforts for about half the state are based out of Pangborn Memorial Airport. “We take initial reports of fires and dispatch fire resources accordingly,” said Jim Duck, assistant center manager at the Central Washington Interagency Community Communications Center. It’s a cooperative effort of the Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Land Management, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and Mid-Columbia National Wildlife Refuge Complex (U.S. Fish and Wildlife). The wildland firefighting dispatch center covers 22 million acres across 17 counties. “We manage the smoke jumper base in Winthrop, the rappellers in Wenatchee, the retardant ships in Moses Lake and engines and hand crews throughout the whole area,” Duck said. During the winter, five people are on staff, mostly planning for the coming fire season.
Wenatchee World

Firefighting efforts winding down at Miriam Fire

Fire crews are settling in to monitor the Miriam Fire, which has burned near White Pass since July. Yakima County’s Office of Emergency Management has lifted evacuation orders for the area, including campgrounds on the shore of Clear Lake, because of recent rain and snow in the area, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Fire crews began removing equipment from the area, and shifting from firefighting to monitoring the 5,400-acre fire following rain in the mountains Sunday, the release said. Along with monitoring the slow-growing fire, crews will also repair fire lines that were established on Forest Service Roads in the area, according to the Forest Service. There are 37 firefighters on scene, according to the Forest Service. That’s down from the hundreds that were there at the height of the fire, which was first spotted July 30.
Yakima Herald-Republic

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