Washington News

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Upriver Beacon Fire in Spokane Valley burning 115 acres, zero percent contained

Spokane Valley Fire authorities said the Upriver Beacon Fire started as a structure fire and quickly spread to the northeast. Over the course of the evening, the fire was upgraded to a third alarm and Department of Natural Resources was asked to respond along with air support. At the height of the fight Tuesday afternoon, more than 50 support vehicles were assisting in extinguishing the fire. Fire crews are still on scene Wednesday morning as the fire burns on East Upriver just east of Frederick. Officials said fire activity did die down overnight, but hotspots and active flames remain within the perimeter. Crews have set a perimeter around 100 percent of the fire.

San Juan Island EMS chief reports alleged illegal recording to county sheriff’s office

On July 5, EMS Chief Jerry Martin reported to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office that Dr. Michael Sullivan, the San Juan County medical program director, had allegedly recorded a conversation between them without Martin’s permission. In Washington state, it is illegal to electronically record a private conversation without all the speakers’ consent. According to the police report, Martin provided a county deputy with audio of a June 11 meeting, where Sullivan said, “I got it on tape.” This, according to the police report, led Martin to “believe … Sullivan has a recording of a conversation prior to” June 11. When questioned by a county deputy, Sullivan denied that he had an audio record of a previous conservation between himself and Martin, but admitted he had notes.
San Juan Journal

Chelan County Fire District 1 Chief Changeover Has Occurred

The Chelan County Fire District 1 Chief turnover happened earlier this month. Deputy Chief Mike Burnett says it was always part of the plan to have Chief Brian Brett be the Deputy Chief for six months and then the two would switch. “When I came 9.5 years ago, I had two weeks to shadow the current chief and then it was mine. In this case, Brian and I have the opportunity to work together for a year so that [the transition] is seamless for the organization and the community.” Burnett says the transition earlier this month where Brett became Chief was all part of the transition plan and that they even switched offices. “Personnel in the department walk by and his door is the one that they’ll stop in to say, ‘Hey Chief, what about…’ and ask the questions.
KPQ-AM 560

Mason County sheriff: High number of wildfires ‘suspicious,’ sets up task force to investigate

The Mason County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday they believe the 15-plus wildfires they've had in a short period of time are "suspicious" and they're putting together a task force to investigate. Spokesman Ryan Spurling said there seems to be too many fires in a short period of time, even for hot, dry weather conditions. He said they've had more than 15 fires in a short period, including four Monday night. There's enough similarities at some of the fire scenes that it's raised an alarm, Spurling said. Since the sheriff's office doesn't have fire experts on its staff, the sheriff decided to call in some help and is putting together a task force of local agencies and detectives.

Feds: 4 attacks on Thurston County Jehovah’s Witnesses churches linked; $25,000 reward offered

Federal investigators said Wednesday they believe four attacks on Jehovah's Witnesses churches in Thurston County are linked, and a $25,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible. At a morning news conference, officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said there have been three arsons and one reported shooting this year at Jehovah's Witnesses' Kingdom Halls in Olympia, Tumwater and Yelm. All four attacks are considered hate crimes, said Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza. ATF Special Agent Darek G. Pleasants said authorities are worried that there may be further attacks that could result in injury or death, and it is imperative that the suspect be caught. He implored anyone with information that might help crack the case to contact police.

Two Benton County fire chiefs share personal stories in support of proposed bond, levy

Two fire chiefs are coming forward to talk about how emergency services have impacted their lives personally. Benton County Fire District 4 and Benton County Fire District #1 have measures on the August Primary Election ballot and have scheduled meetings to answer questions from the public. Benton County Fire District 4 is asking voters to approve a bond of 28 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value (approximately $7 per month for the owner of a $300,000 home). The bond would build and equip a fire station (including an ambulance), as well as replace three fire engines approaching the end of their usable lives. The fire district has two stations and has built one every 20 years in response to population growth.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

2-alarm fire causes heavy damage to West Seattle home

With flames bursting from all sides of a house in West Seattle early Tuesday morning, Seattle Fire crews called in a 2-alarm response to try to save the home, its occupants and nearby buildings. Just before 2 a.m. Tuesday, firefighters were called to the 8600 block of Fauntlee Crest SW in the Fauntleroy neighborhood. Two people and two cats escaped the fire as crews battled the flames. Firefighters reported they had extinguished the fire about 40 minutes after they arrived on scene. Most of the damage to the home appeared to be on the second floor, although the origin and cause of the fire have not officially been identified. Other nearby homes did not appear to sustain any significant damage.
KOMO-TV ABC 4 and Radio 1000

Spokane City Council steps in to slow push toward combined 911 center

A unified Spokane City Council voted Monday to slow the push toward combining the region’s response to 911 calls. Lawmakers cited concerns from emergency responders and the continued lack of information from the mayor’s office about the shift. “I’m sure this will be a point of contention moving forward,” said City Council President Ben Stuckart, who took the rare step of suspending the rules to add the ordinance to Monday night’s agenda before garnering unanimous support for the proposal. “I’m just trying to make it so we can have a public discussion about this.” Brian Coddington, a spokesman for Mayor David Condon, said the office was notified of the council’s plans to vote on the ordinance by email about an hour before Monday night’s meeting began.
Spokane Spokesman-Review

Fire sends 1 to hospital for smoke inhalation west of Kennewick

One man was transported to a hospital for smoke inhalation due to a fire Monday west of Kennewick. The fire started behind the resident's home at 26 South Bermuda Road shortly after 4 p.m. and spread to some trees in the neighbor's yard. The patient suffered minor injuries. Officials said the fire appears to have been caused by a burn pile. They would like to emphasize that a burn ban is currently in effect in Benton County. Multiple agencies including Benton County Fire District #1, #2 and Kennewick Fire responded to the scene.

Lincoln County deputies detain four suspects in Rattlesnake fire investigation

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says suspects have been detained for starting a large wildfire on the Colville Indian Reservation, in the Hellgate Nature Preserve on Thursday. At last report, the Rattlesnake fire was 2,773 acres in size and 75 percent contained. About 275 firefighters are still battling the blaze Monday. According to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, dispatch received a call Thursday afternoon around 1:30 p.m. from an alert citizen reporting a boat with several people on it was lighting fireworks across from Lincoln. The caller said the occupants were lighting the fireworks and a short time later the hillside became engulfed in flames.
KAYU-TV MyFox Spokane

Stairs are safer but not as cool as Everett’s last fire pole

It’s a symbol of firefighters, superheroes and dancers. But the pole has all but vanished from most fire stations these days. What’s up with that? Taking the steps is safer. The 20-foot sliding pole at Everett Fire Department Station 1 on Rucker Avenue is the last one standing in the city’s six firehouses. It might be the only functional fire pole in Snohomish County, based on responses from inquiries sent to local fire districts. At one time, the fire pole was a speedy way to get from the bunks to the rigs. Now the gleaming brass pole usually gets eschewed for the stairs by the firefighters at Station 1. “Waking up at 2 in the morning and you’re kind of wandering around to get your bearings then making sure you don’t break your ankle when you come down, it’s just easier to use the stairs,” said firefighter/paramedic Jack Murrin.
Everett Herald - Metered Site

Drones obstruct wildfire-fighting in Mason County

An irresponsible drone pilot was hindering firefighting efforts in Mason County on Monday, officials said. The Mason County sheriff’s department said the Department of Natural Resources had to stop air-water air operations in the area due to drones. “Please DO NOT FLY ANY DRONES around the active fire,” the sheriff’s deparment said in a tweet. The DNR said there was a “drone incursion” on the Harstine Heights Lane/Kings Landing fire. Call 911 if you see a drone operating in the area.

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