Washington News

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Explosions reported at commercial blaze in Kent

Puget Sound firefighters were on the scene of a commercial fire in the 22600 block of S. 228th St. in Kent early Thursday morning that caused major damage to a welding and fabrication shop. According to Puget Sound Fire's Twitter page, there were no injuries reported, but there was a propane tank burning on the outside of the building. There were some explosions inside the building as firefighters battled the blaze. The fire was called in about 3:30 a.m., but it might have been burning for a while before a passerby reported it, firefighters said. The cause of the fire is unknown. As of 4:30 a.m., it was a two-alarm fire and firefighters were pulled back to a "safe zone," but the fire was under control by 5:15 a.m. Firewalls between tenant spaces helped to prevent the fire from spreading, but a neighboring glass works business was also damaged.

Douglas County’s Pangborn Memorial Airport provides home base for wildfire coordination

Wildfire coordination efforts for about half the state are based out of Pangborn Memorial Airport. “We take initial reports of fires and dispatch fire resources accordingly,” said Jim Duck, assistant center manager at the Central Washington Interagency Community Communications Center. It’s a cooperative effort of the Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Land Management, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and Mid-Columbia National Wildlife Refuge Complex (U.S. Fish and Wildlife). The wildland firefighting dispatch center covers 22 million acres across 17 counties. “We manage the smoke jumper base in Winthrop, the rappellers in Wenatchee, the retardant ships in Moses Lake and engines and hand crews throughout the whole area,” Duck said. During the winter, five people are on staff, mostly planning for the coming fire season.
Wenatchee World

Firefighting efforts winding down at Miriam Fire

Fire crews are settling in to monitor the Miriam Fire, which has burned near White Pass since July. Yakima County’s Office of Emergency Management has lifted evacuation orders for the area, including campgrounds on the shore of Clear Lake, because of recent rain and snow in the area, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Fire crews began removing equipment from the area, and shifting from firefighting to monitoring the 5,400-acre fire following rain in the mountains Sunday, the release said. Along with monitoring the slow-growing fire, crews will also repair fire lines that were established on Forest Service Roads in the area, according to the Forest Service. There are 37 firefighters on scene, according to the Forest Service. That’s down from the hundreds that were there at the height of the fire, which was first spotted July 30.
Yakima Herald-Republic

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

San Juan Island Fire and Rescue Board approves Norvin Collins as new chief

Excitement is heating up at San Juan Island Fire and Rescue in the wake of selecting a new fire chief. The board unanimously agreed to offer the job to Norvin Collins at a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. After over 35 years with the department, San Juan Island Fire Chief Brad Creesy will retire at the end of October. Collins was not present at the meeting and the exact date he will start has not been determined. “I think Novin is the best applicant we could possibly find,” said San Juan Island Fire and Rescue Commissioner Bob Jarman. “I believe he’ll make a good fit for this community and as well as this department.” Commissioners will mail Collins a letter, offering the job on the condition that he passes a physical and signs a contract with the district. Collins is the current fire chief for the Sauvie Island Fire District in Portland.
Journal of the San Juans

Bridgeport-area house fire leaves two missing

A house fire on Old Highland Orchard Road east of Bridgeport destroyed a structure Sunday night, and two people thought to have been in the home were unaccounted for Monday morning. Douglas County Sheriff Kevin Morris said in a press release that two people were able to escape but the status of the two other people remained unknown. The fire was reported at 9:51 p.m. Sunday in the 700 block of Old Highland Orchard Road, about three miles east of Bridgeport. The structure was a total loss, Morris said, and the cause and circumstances was not known. Firefighters and investigators were still on the scene Monday morning. Bridgeport and Douglas County Fire District 3 officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

3-Year-Old Boy Burned In Yakima Kitchen Fire

A small child was injured in a house fire Tuesday night at a home in the 200 block of South 60th Avenue. Yakima Fire Department Capt. Jeff Pfaff says firefighters responded to the kitchen fire at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and when they arrived they found a 3-year-old boy who was suffering from burns to his lower body. The boy's grandmother was also taken to the hospital with chest pains and breathing problems. No other injuries were reported. The fire was caused by the stove top in the kitchen. The homeowners appeared to have been cooking earlier in the day and a burner was potentially left on for an extended period of time. Damage is estimated at $40,000.
KIT 1280-AM & 99.3-FM

Yakima firefighters, Greenway staff plan solutions for fires along pathway

It had the appearance of a typical wildfire. Firefighters in yellow-and-green protective gear worked to contain flames as they burned through brush and trees. They’d back off as dead trees started burning from the inside and began dropping limbs and parts of their trunks to the ground, raising clouds of ash and igniting fresh fires. But this scene Sept. 6 wasn’t in a remote forest. It was less than 2 miles from the heart of downtown Yakima, along the Yakima Greenway near the banks of the Naches River. The fire near Gordon Road was one of at least six suspicious fires along the pathway that Yakima firefighters have dealt with this year. “It’s a very dangerous area to be using fire at all,” said Yakima Fire Capt. Jeff Pfaff, adding that fire crews have responded to more than the usual number of fires along the path.
Yakima Herald-Republic

Fire destroys 50 golf carts at Cedars at Dungeness

A fire consumed an estimated 50 golf carts and other course equipment early Sunday morning at The Cedars at Dungeness golf course, 1965 Woodcock Road. Eric Quitslund, an assistant chief with Clallam County Fire District 3, said district personnel responded to the golf course with two fire engines and three water tenders at 6:38 a.m. Sept. 16, where they found an approximate 24-foot-by-100-foot structure fully involved in flames. “We don’t know the cause yet, but I suspect it was a similar situation to the previous fire,” he said. Fire crews, including Quitslund, responded to an electrical fire on Feb. 7 at the course that destroyed and/or damaged three carts in a different shed. Bill Shea, Director of Golf/General Manager at The Cedars, said on Monday no one has been able to get inside it to assess the damage.
Sequim Gazette

For Rural Communities, Wildfire Brings Economic Help, Hardships

For the Methow Valley, wildfire is a way of life. Over the years, rural communities here in North Central Washington have learned to live with the threat, tragedy and benefits of fire on the land. Coffee shops post the latest fire boundaries and evacuation updates. “Thank you, firefighters” posters hang from store windows. Out-of-state fire rigs park in local motel lots. “This is a huge fire area, like the whole state. I don’t know anybody that’s not impacted by it — whether it’s because they’re choked out from the smoke coming down the valley or whether (fire) got close to their house or whether their family members are firefighters,” said Judy Hoffman, an engine boss for Methow River Wildfire. Hoffman is among a growing number of people who count on wildfires to make at least a portion of their income.

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