Washington News

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Seattle has booked an entire downtown hotel for first responders to isolate and quarantine during coronavirus pandemic

Seattle officials have booked an entire downtown hotel for three months to house first responders and other essential city employees who’ve been exposed to the novel coronavirus and can’t isolate or quarantine at home. The city is set to spend at least $2.8 million on the 155-room Executive Hotel Pacific as more firefighters, police officers and other crucial workers in Seattle and across Washington are contracting the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus. Only six rooms at the Executive Hotel Pacific were occupied by first responders as of Tuesday, though officials expected that number to grow. Seattle has begun offering rooms to essential transportation and utilities employees and also may coordinate with other cities to house their first responders. Independent journalist Erica Barnett first reported the hotel contract.
Seattle Times

5 Spokane city firefighters remain in quarantine after most released

The number of city of Spokane firefighters in quarantine continues to drop, but department leaders will remain vigilant and adhere to a requirement that employees wear masks around-the-clock. Only five firefighters were in quarantine on Wednesday, a precipitous drop from 33 the department reported out of work on March 19, amounting to about 10% of the workforce. Of the 16 firefighters tested for COVID-19, none have been positive, according to Deputy Fire Chief Jay Atwood. The department saw an immediate reduction in the number of sidelined firefighters when it updated its quarantine policy in line with state Department of Health guidelines, which do not recommend quarantining a first responder who has only had contact with a person potentially infected with the disease. The department now only necessitates a quarantine if the firefighter is symptomatic.
Spokane Spokesman-Review

Snohomish County fire service agencies are working together in their response to the COVID-19 outbreak

Collaboration started more than a month ago with fire chiefs sharing information in daily video conference calls with key staff, Snohomish County 911 and Dr. Eric Cooper, Medical Program Director for Snohomish County Emergency Medical Services. Now fire service agencies have taken the next step by establishing a Fire Coordination Center to provide unified tracking, planning and response to the outbreak. Participating agencies are the Arlington Fire Department, Everett Fire Department, Marysville Fire District, Mukilteo Fire Department, North County Regional Fire Authority, Paine Field Airport Fire Department, Snohomish County Fire District 7, South County Fire and Tulalip Bay Snohomish County Fire District 15. Together, these departments serve about 680,000 residents, nearly 83% of the county’s population.
North Couty Outlook

Clark County Has Among Top Needs For PPE, But Receives Little From Washington State

Almost two weeks ago, the agency leading Washington state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak reassured Southwest Washington’s highest-ranking lawmaker. Clark County, at the time home to nine positive cases of COVID-19 and three deaths, would move near the top of the list for resupplies of protective gear and testing kits. “I would anticipate you would receive at least part of your order,” wrote Robert Ezelle, director of the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division, in response to the question from U.S. Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, R-Washington. That was March 21. Clark County by then had tested just 230 people. At the time, the county sought 6,500 test kits from the state. Despite being placed as a priority on par with counties near Puget Sound — one of the earliest epicenters for COVID-19 — Clark County has received a fraction of the supplies it has requested.
Oregon Public Broadcasting

Pasco police respond to suspicious fires

Pasco police officers responded to a couple suspicious fires in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The first fire broke out around 2:41 a.m. in an alley at North 14th Avenue and West Clark Street by the Franklin PUD building. Police said someone set fire to a pile of car parts and tires, damaging a fence, pole and some stucco on the side of the building. The Pasco Fire Department responded and put it out. The second involved stolen 2005 Nissan Altima that was set on fire near East Lewis Street and Cedar Avenue. When police called the owner, she said the car should have been parked in the 400 block of N. Douglas Ave. Firefighters responded and again put out the flames. The case is being investigated as a vehicle theft and arson.

Yakima business using 3D printers to make face masks for local hospitals

Doctors and nurses short of face masks has some local artists making use of their 3D printers. It's a long process, but after the group met with hospital staff about what they need, they say they're planning to make hundreds for both Astria Health and Virginia Mason Memorial. The Yakima Maker Space has been closed to the public for weeks now, but a small group of members are working to pump out hundreds of masks for hospitals in the area with their 3D printers. "Our first responders are out there trying to save lives, and we're trying to do our part to make sure we keep them safe," says Nick Romero of Thrive Industries. Romero says when he found out the place his mother works, Astria Health in Toppenish, was running low on hospital masks, they decided to get to work.
KIMA-TV CBS/CW+ 29 Yakima

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Fire truck flips over in north Clark County

A fire truck responding to a medical call Monday on an unpaved road in north Clark County toppled over into a small creek, likely putting the emergency vehicle permanently out of commission. Clark County Fire District 10 crews were dispatched about 8:20 a.m. to the 6200 block of Northeast 405th Street, northeast of La Center, for a report of a person having a fainting episode due to abnormal breathing. Assistant Chief Gordon Brooks said the call was being treated as a potential COVID-19 case. “At this point, we’re pretty much having to assume every sick caller may be infected and treat them as such,” Brooks said, adding that by the end of the call, responders were fairly certain that wasn’t the case. Extra resources were requested due to the nature of the call. The driver and only occupant of the third fire engine to respond was making his way up a private road, which is narrow and unpaved, according to the assistant chief.
The Columbian

South County Fire Chief Doug Dahl retires; Thad Hovis named Interim Chief

South County Fire Chief Doug Dahl retired Tuesday, March 31 after nearly 34 years in the fire service. Dahl spent all but the early years of his fire service career in south Snohomish County. In 1986, after graduating from Mountlake Terrace High School, Dahl signed on as a firefighter at Pierce County Fire District 10. In 1989, he was hired by the Edmonds Fire Department. At both departments, he was honored as Firefighter of the Year and during his tenure in Edmonds, Dahl also earned the Chief’s Medal of Honor. In Edmonds, Dahl moved up through the ranks to Battalion Chief, a position he retained when the department consolidated with Snohomish County Fire District 1 in 2010. Dahl was promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations in 2015.
My Edmonds News - Metered Site

Bellevue dentist accused of torching boxes of medical masks, gear

A Bellevue dentist is accused of burning boxes with protective medical masks and gear in an attempt to destroy his office even as local doctors scramble to get those supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the second arson at the office in consecutive days, police allege. Firefighters were first called to a fire at the suspect's A to Z Dental office at 1515 116th Ave NE in Bellevue on the afternoon of March 23, according to court documents. The office was part of a three-story building that housed 28 other businesses. There, they found three separate small fires burning in the office and the smell of accelerants, prosecutors said. The flames were quickly doused and arson detectives spent the rest of the day investigating the fires.
KOMO-TV ABC 4 Seattle

Spokane hit-and-run collision sends car into house, setting both ablaze

A two-car hit-and-run collision on North Freya Street in north Spokane Tuesday evening sent one car into a house, setting both ablaze and closing down a major intersection. The crash into the house on the 3600 block of East Frederick Avenue was reported at about 7:40 p.m. and the female driver was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, according to Spokane Police Cpl. Ben Maplethorpe. The other driver, who is suspected of DUI, fled the scene and was arrested in his car several blocks to the east. He also had minor injuries. It was unknown if anyone was in the home at the time of the crash but no injuries of residents were reported, Maplethorpe said. Spokane firefighters had knocked down flames on the house by about 8 p.m. The intersection of North Freya Street and East Frederick Avenue remained closed as of about 8:30 p.m.
The Spokesman-Review - Metered Site

Wineries join distilleries in making hand sanitizer for first responders

Local winemakers are stepping up to help distilleries fulfill the urgent need for hand sanitizer. UVA FUREM Winery in Maple Valley is joining other wineries in the area in providing bulk wine to local distilleries to create hand sanitizer. "We ended up getting together and coming up with almost 1,000 gallons of bulk wine that we could donate to Kim and Bryan over at Scratch Distillery in Edmonds, and they all were able to turn it into alcohol and then transfer it in to make it into hand sanitizer,” said Jens Hansen, co-owner of UVA FUREM Winery. Bryan Karrick, co-owner of Scratch Distillery, said the hand sanitizer will be distributed to South Snohomish County Fire Stations and any other first responders who've expressed a need.
KING-TV NBC 5 Seattle

Fire crews preparing for wildfire season despite the coronavirus

Wildfire season in the inland northwest is right around the corner. However this year, there’s a series of obstacles that could impact the way the state responds to them including how to secure enough incident command teams and the rethinking of how to attack fires. “We are already trying to figure out okay if we are going to be low on the number of incident management teams when we go out. How do we start setting up our own teams ready and getting the critical training as fast as we can so that leadership team is in place,” said Washington State DNR Commissioner Hillary Franz during a FaceTime interview. When firefighters arrive at a camp to battle raging wildfires, there are hundreds if not thousands of them sleeping and eating in close quarters working around the clock…
KAYU-TV FOX 28 Spokane

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