Washington News

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

All aboard: Train helps stop Finley wildfire in its tracks

A special weapon helped fire crews surround and eventually capture Thursday's wildfire just south of Finley at Meals Rd. and Toothaker Rd. It's called a fire train and fire leaders say the Tri-Cities is extremely lucky to have one stationed in Pasco. Benton County Fire District 1 chief Lonnie Click said not only do the trains transport water to hard to reach places: they attack wildland fires, swooping in with a one-two punch. Each train has three monitors, manned water cannons, soaking everything they can, reducing dry fuels, so the flames have nowhere to go. "They're sitting up there at probably 20 feet, in the air above the tracks. They're shooting it way out high and it really does a good job, it puts a hurtin' on a fire," he said. Click told Action News they're already seeing July-like fire conditions in June, and he worries it's going to be a rough year for fires. He says some terrain is worse than others, so the partnership with Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railway is vital.

Spokane City Council rejects joining regional emergency dispatch system

The Spokane City Council voted against joining the Spokane Regional Emergency Communications system at Monday night's meeting. The SREC will provide communication and dispatch services for several agencies around the county. If the City Council had voted to join, the SREC would have provided those services for the Spokane Fire Department and Spokane Police Department. The City of Spokane will now operate a duplicate emergency communications system for dispatch and related services for the police and fire departments. Mayor David Condon, SPD Chief Craig Meidl, SFD Chief Brian Schaeffer and Chief Financial Officer Gavin Cooley released a statement Monday night expressing their concern about the council's decision.

Colville Tribe Emergency crews put out wildfire on reservation near Elmer City

Colville Tribe Emergency crews cleared up a 3,500-acre fire near Elmer City on Monday. The fire started late Sunday afternoon on a mountain ridge that has previously burned, so containment lines were already set up. Sage and brush burned, and due to windy conditions the fire grew within the containment area. The fire is still under investigation. Residents in Rebecca Lake and Buffalo Lake were under a Level 3 evacuation notice, which has since been lifted. As of now there are no road closures or evacuations, but travelers are urged to drive carefully, as emergency crews will still be out on the roadways. Air crews and firefighters were able to quickly put down the fire overnight, and in the next few days they will finish cleaning up the area. Containment is currently at 60%, but the main fire is out. Crews are working to clear up remaining hot spots.

Chehalis Public Works Director, Former Volunteer Firefighter, Retires After 37 Years

Chehalis Public Works Director Rick Sahlin started a countdown clock on his phone about six months before his scheduled date of retirement. He kept one going on the whiteboard in his office, too. Sahlin wiped the board clean on Friday after more than 37 years spent working for the City of Chehalis. Come Monday morning, his chair will be occupied by Community Development Director Trent Lougheed, who has spent the past year preparing for the change. Once he’s settled into the next phase of his life, Sahlin envisions a possible return to volunteering on city advisory boards or with other organizations in Chehalis. He spent 23 years as a volunteer firefighter with Lewis County Fire District 6 before injuries kept him from continuing.
Centralia Chronicle

Digging In: 450 Western Washington Firefighters Descend on Rainier for Wildfire Training

Digging ditches. That’s what it looked like out on the prairie around Rainier on Monday, June 24, as men and women from all walks of life came together under one common name: firefighter. There wasn’t an actual fire on the prairie — just 450 firefighters of varying degrees of experience, learning new skills or honing old ones as part of the Western Washington Interagency Wildfire Training Academy. “The purpose of the training academy is to come together and train all of our new firefighters, and our returning seasonal and permanent wildfire staff, to be able to have a successful season fighting fires and managing incidents,” said Dakota Truitt, public information officer for Western Washington Interagency Wildfire Training Academy, which made Rainier High School its western headquarters.
Nisqually Valley News

West Pierce firefighters gifted cases of Pepsi after rescuing pup named ’Pepsi’

The men of the West Pierce Fire and Rescue Department got a well-deserved gift Monday after rescuing a dog that was trapped after falling into a ravine. ‘Pepsi’ the black lab was stranded overnight last Monday when he fell down an embankment. Firefighters had to use a rope system to safely bring the 13-year-old dog up from the ravine. Firefighters returned ‘Pepsi’ to his family without any injuries. After getting word of the pup’s rescue, and unique name, PepsiCo, delivered a year’s supply of Pepsi soda along with snacks for the firefighters. Once case even featured the Pepsi logo embossed over a paw print. The company also sent 'Pepsi's' family gifts and dog treats as he continues to recover.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Just move! Bystanders in Kennewick block firefighters from fighting fires...again

Kennewick police had to help firefighters get to a brushfire near the Burlington Store Saturday after onlookers kept getting in the way. First responders tell Action News they're seeing too much of this and they need your help. Officers say they understand the interest, it's human nature to watch events as they unfold but it's starting to impede their ability to do their job. "We'll communicate with you through the media as early and as often as we can," says Kennewick fire battalion chief Mike Barnett. "We ask that you stay out of the way." He's asking nicely now in order to avoid harsher words during life-or-death situations. The firefighter says it's for your safety as a civilian and as a member of this community that might someday need help.

3 homes burn in 2-alarm fire in Lakewood

Three houses caught fire early Friday morning in the Tillicum neighborhood in Lakewood, but everyone escaped safely. Just before 1 a.m., fire crews were called the the 2-alarm blaze in the 14400 block of Union Ave. SW. They arrived to find three homes burning and flames visible even from I-5. Investigators believe the fire originated in a vacant home in the middle of the three, and the flames then spread to the other homes on either side, fire officials said. The fire's spread was aided by a large amount of debris that had been left outside the vacant home. Gene Tetteh had spent the last 18 months building his new home next door and had just moved in on May 10. He says he and others who live on this street have been very frustrated with the mess, the homeowner and the renters. He says were evicted a few weeks ago.
KOMO-TV ABC 4 and Radio 1000

50 rolls of fake grass catch fire near Lacey

Lacey Fire District 3 says its crews spent most of Thursday evening trying to put out 50 rolls of artificial grass that caught fire. The incident happened at a home near state Route 510 and Mullen Road Southeast starting about 6:30 p.m. The fire was still going but contained when crews left about 11:30 p.m., said Battalion Chief Patrick Harn. The 8-foot-long rolls gave off thick black smoke and a strong odor as they burned. “It’s pretty much made of petroleum, petroleum products, so once it gets going it’s pretty flammable,” Harn said. Damage was estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. It is unclear what caused the fire. The homeowner reported no activity in the area that could have started it, according to Harn.

Brush Fire in Chelan, But Winds Not a Factor

Despite the forecast of strong winds, firefighters contained a brushfire to about 2 acres near Chelan Saturday afternoon. The fire was burning underneath power lines in sagebrush and grass and steep terrain between Boyd and Henderson Roads. Lt. Zacher with Chelan Fire and Rescue said a second alarm was called for structure protection on two nearby homes that were threatened. One home had good defensible firewise space of 50 yards according to Zacher and winds were light and not a factor. There was no damage reported. The cause is under investigation.
KPQ-AM 560

Longview woman arrested after setting a fire inside a home

Cowlitz County Sheriff's deputies Friday night arrested a Longview woman after she started a fire inside a home. Susie Irene Mitchell, 48, of Longview was arrested on suspicion of first-degree arson, resisting arrest, intimidating a public servant and obstructing a public servant. Sgt. Corey Huffine said deputies and Longview police officers responded to the call, which came in around 10:10 p.m. When deputies arrived at the house on Niblett Way in the Beacon Hill area, a woman came outside with a baseball bat and threatened a deputy. She then went back inside the house. Deputies forced entry inside the house and found the woman had set the curtains on fire, he said. Deputies used fire extinguishers to put out the fire, he said. No one else was in the house and no one was injured, Huffine said.
Longview Daily News

Garage, two cars destroyed in Kennewick fire

PHOTO: A fire destroyed a detached garage and two cars in Kennewick Friday afternoon. Crews responded to the fire at 1588 W. 21 Place near South Rainier Street around 2:45 p.m. Heavy smoke poured from the garage as they attempted to put it out. No residents or firefighters were injured. The fire did not spread to any surrounding buildings. However, a neighbor said the windows of their home were open, and they were concerned about smoke damage. KAPP-KVEW was told the homeowners were in the garage, then left for 10-15 minutes to go inside the house when they started seeing smoke. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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