Washington News

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Onalaska neighbors unleash frustrations on fire commissioners at meeting

Neighbors in Onalaska unleashed their frustrations on fire commissioners Tuesday night. They're upset after a third of the all-volunteer fire department resigned. Some say small town politics is putting public safety in jeopardy. Commissioners voted last week to strip Fire Chief Andrew Martin of his title. Commissioner Rich Bainbridge said Martin "was not following our direction." However, at an evening meeting, Assistant Chief Rhonda Volk said the action taken against Martin was retaliation. "I refuse to sit back and let commissioners Bainbridge and Kassel hold personal grudges and vendettas against my command team," said Volk.

Everett fire officials push for alarms in apartments

Nearly two years after a fatal New Year's Eve apartment fire in Everett, fire officials say they're making progress in the push to get fire alarm systems in apartment complexes up to code. It was December 31, 2015 when a massive fire broke out at The Bluffs Apartments on West Casino Road. The apartment complex, built in the late 1960s, didn't have fire alarms. As a result, neighbors said they had little warning. Some had no idea the fire was even happening, until they smelled the smoke and saw the flames themselves. "Yeah I didn't hear nothing until we saw it," said resident Jose Velasquez. "Me and my buddies were hanging out, it was New Year's Eve, and I looked out the window and was like, oh man, that apartment is on fire." He was one of more than 100 people whose apartment units were damaged by smoke, water, and flames on that night.

South King County Firefighters have a new regional asset

Thanks to a grant from the Department of Ecology, firefighters in South King County now have a new tool to help them combat alcohol and petroleum-based fires. The $100,000 grant was a collaborative effort between the Renton RFA and the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, fire department officials said in a media release. According to Puget Sound Fire, the new tool comes in the form of two trailers that each carry 660 gallons of a foam concentrate that, when injected into a fire hose, can coat the surface of flammable liquids and extinguish them if they are already burning, or create an airtight barrier to prevent them from catching fire.
Kent Reporter

Fighting fires a family tradition for these Olympia women

When three-year-old Callaway Norwood visits his grandma's house, he expects two things: a satisfying bowl of Cocoa Krispies and fire trucks. Lots of fire trucks. Toy fire trucks and videos of fire trucks. Typical boy you might think. Only in this family, it's not just the boys who love fire trucks. In 1992, long before she was anyone's grandma, Debbie Powers became just the third woman to fight fires for the City of Olympia. “People would say ‘Oh you're a fireman?’ and I would go ‘Oh Yeah’,” Powers said. “Fireman, Fire Woman. It didn't matter. I was just happy to be here, to be part of this team, part of this family. Call me whatever you want.” Jenna Norwood was proud of her mom, even when she showed up in class dressed up as Sparky the Fire Dog.

Moses Lake Firefighters hand out coats to kids in need

Grey and rainy skies blanketed the Columbia Basin on Tuesday. The need for a good, warm winter coat was evident from the moment you stepped out into the elements. For some in the community a good winter coat is hard to come by. The Moses Lake Firefighters Local 1258 helped address the need by delivering winter coats to kids at four schools in Moses Lake on Tuesday through their annual Operation Warm program. The firefighters handed out about 100 coats to students at Larson Heights, Midway, Knolls Vista and North elementary schools. The kids who received coats were hand-picked by Moses Lake School District staff and identified as needing a good winter coat, explained firefighter Jason Koziol.
Columbia Basin Herald

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A third of Onalaska’s volunteer fire department resigns

In Onalaska, the volunteer fire department is dealing with an emergency of its own. Brothers Chris and Craig Franklin say small town politics are putting everyone in jeopardy. "Now I am standing here, watching everything fall apart," said Chris. "I'm worried for my safety, my family's safety, and the safety of all the citizens of Onalaska." The reason he's worried is because a third of the firefighters who make up the volunteer department have resigned. "To lose these people who are resigning, it is not going to work," said Craig. It started when Fire Chief Andrew Martin lost his title during Thursday's Fire Commissioners' meeting. "I wasn't given any heads up. I didn't even know I was the employee under review," said Martin.

Spokane Fire Department selects new Assistant Fire Chief

The Spokane Fire Department announced Monday that it has selected Trisha Wolford to be the next Assistant Fire Chief. The Assistant Chief serves as a key leader in the department assisting the Fire Chief in planning, coordinating and administering the activities of the organization. She will begin on December 27. “After an extensive recruitment process and receiving positive feedback from the interview committees—which included community members, City of Spokane executives, SFD leadership and representation from IAFF Local 29—Trisha became the clear choice,” says Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer. “Her fire service, emergency medical service and investigative background combined with her strategic planning skills will be an enormous asset to our department and community.”

Oso chaplain honored for aid, comfort in worst of times

When Oso chaplain Joel Johnson is called to a critical emergency situation or crime scene, odds are someone just lost their home, their life or that of a loved one, and any signs of hope. Johnson is director of Support 46, a program providing respite to on-scene emergency responders from Arlington Fire and Police departments. It’s his job – and calling – to bring compassion and a shoulder to lean on for victims and families who are most-likely experiencing one of the worst days of their lives. Support 46 chaplains and support crews are dispatched by 9-1-1 when there is a natural disaster, structural or brush fire, serious accident, need for a death notification, search and rescue, or other trauma.
Marysville Globe

Middle School Kids Evacuated to Gym by Fire Alarm in West Richland

Students at Leona Marshall Libby Middle School in West Richland are safe after a fire alarm went off this morning. Staff evacuated the school and the kids were moved to the gym, according to Benton County Fire District 4. Firefighters searched the school and found a light smoke, but no fire. They are investigating to find the source of the smoke. “To reiterate, all students and faculty are safe, warm and accounted for. We will post an update as information becomes available, said fire district officials.

3 stranded people rescued from Green River in driving rainstorm in Auburn

Three people were rescued after they became stranded on a small island in the middle of the Green River during Tuesday morning's driving rainstorm, emergency officials said. Rescuers from Valley Regional Fire District responded to the scene, near Fenster Park in Auburn, at around 6:20 a.m. after receiving a 911 call from one of the stranded victims. Three adults were found on a small island in the river. Rescuers reached them boat and brought them safely back to shore. No injuries were reported. The three told rescuers that they had followed a trail from the Fenster Park area and ended up on the small island with water covering their feet.
KOMO-TV ABC 4 and Radio 1000

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