It came as a shock to learn Salkum Fire Department — Lewis County Fire District 8 — had won firehouse of the year from the Washington State Firefighters’ Association, said department chief Duran McDaniel. But it also served as a validation, he said, that the department is doing something right.
Lewis County’s other fire districts had a strong showing at the awards, with three volunteer personnel within the county taking home awards for their work at their respective departments.
McDaniel said he submitted a letter to the association, effectively tossing Fire District 8’s hat into the ring for the award. In that letter, he described the department’s history and how it has evolved.
It was one of the first departments in the area to have emergency medical technicians in 1974. It was among the first to get the Jaws of Life to extract individuals from wrecked vehicles in 1976. The crew was among the first to start rescue operations when Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, said McDaniel.