Washington News

Friday, March 16, 2018

Camas responds to firefighters safety complaint

After a local firefighters’ union filed an “unsafe work environment” complaint with the state, claiming the Camas-Washougal Fire Department’s low staffing levels place firefighters at risk of not being able to save lives and fight fires, the city of Camas issued a statement explaining the fire department’s staffing levels, policies and protocol. Camas City Administrator Pete Capell sent the city’s response to the East Clark Professional Fire Fighters’ complaint regarding staffing levels to media outlets on Monday afternoon. “First and foremost, we would like to express how very proud we are of the hard work performed by all our emergency responders every day. They are a tremendous part of our community,” the city’s response states. “It is important to emphasize that no laws have been broken and no disciplinary action was or is going to be taken against the responders … we continue to welcome a conversation with both the East Clark Professional Fire Fighters as well as our Camas community.”
Camas-Washougal Post-Record

Clark County Fire District 3 picks new assistant chief

Clark County Fire District 3’s commissioners recently selected Barbara Widlund to serve as its new assistant chief. Widlund takes over the assistant chief job left open after Scott Sorenson was promoted to chief. The district said Widlund was chosen from a number of national applicants for the position. Widlund started her fire service career in 2000 as a volunteer with the district, and was hired full-time in 2001. Widlund holds an associate’s degree in fire protection technology from Portland Community College, and is currently enrolled in the Managing Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md. Widlund is a 1985 graduate of La Center High School. Widlund has worked as a firefighter and emergency medical technician, captain, engine operator, scene officer, station officer, shift training captain, prefire program manager, breathing apparatus program manager and acting battalion chief. Widlund is married and lives in Hockinson.
Vancouver Columbian

Rosalia firefighter arrested for stealing, pawning department’s equipment

Whitman County Deputies arrested 35-year-old Kelly Brown of Rosalia Thursday afternoon while serving a search warrant on his home. Deputies had been investigating several property related crimes in the area when they received information about a vehicle that may have been involved in a burglary on Gashous Rd. The theft was reported to authorities in late February. It was later identified as belonging to Brown. During the investigation, it was discovered that Brown, a current member of the Rosalia Fire Department, had recently pawned a fire department portable radio at a Pawn Shop in Spokane. This led investigators to find several other items had been taken or were missing from the fire department in recent months.

Benton County Fire District #4 sends gear to New York teen battling cancer

A New York teen is getting clothes from a local fire department as part of his wish to represent firefighters from around the country while he battles cancer. Timmy Richardson was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this month and is now undergoing treatment at a hospital in Buffalo. Timmy comes from a family of firefighters, and he has grown up with plans to become a firefighter his whole life. Since his diagnosis, he and his family have been asking fire departments around the country to send him T-shirts so that he can represent a different department every day that he's in the hospital. Firefighters from Benton County Fire District #4 heard about Timmy's situation and decided to get involved. Earlier this week, the sent him a hat, T-shirt, challenge coin and a card signed by the whole crew.

Spokane Fire Lookout Museum and UI exhibition offer unique perspectives on wildland firefighting

Smokey the Bear has his own bedroom at Ray Kresek's north Spokane home, situated on what resembles a pine tree clearing in the National Forest. Really, though, it's Kresek's homage to bygone days of wildland firefighting at his Fire Lookout Museum. Thirty varieties of regional conifers and other native shrubbery fill most of Kresek's 1-acre plot, forming the backdrop for a unique structure in his backyard: a nearly 90-year-old fire lookout cabin. Built during the 1930s when forestry departments wanted to top every mountain with a lookout, resulting in more than 8,000 such structures nationwide, the cabin now sits atop a manageable 6-foot platform. Adjacent is Kresek's other on-site lookout: a replica of a tower style incorporating pine trees as part of the structure, jutting 60 feet upward. Next to the lookouts is a 1936 garage built by the Civilian Conservation Corps for use by the Washington Division of Forestry in Usk.
The Inlander

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Flames consume Seattle house, causing evacuation of nearby apartments

A fire in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle consumed a building, causing a nearby apartment complex to be evacuated. Seattle fire crews said they arrived at the 400 block of Bowdoin Place early Thursday morning and worked to put out the flames at a vacant building. Residents in a nearby apartment complex were evacuated for safety, because of the heavy smoke that came from the structure. Neighbors told KIRO 7 that homeless people may have been staying inside the building. Crews said they have not been able to go inside the building because the structure is unstable; they are still working to put out hot spots. Crews have not reported any injuries and are trying to determine the cause of the fire.

911 breaks free of county; last-minute changes added to charter in Cowlitz County

Applause broke out after the Cowlitz County commissioners Tuesday voted 2-1 to create an independent 911 agency, separating emergency dispatch services from county control. Commissioners Joe Gardner and Dennis Weber voted yes, while Arne Mortensen was the lone dissenting vote. Gardner said the new Cowlitz 911 agency will reduce bureaucracy by consolidating governance of emergency dispatch under a single, nine-person board of directors. At least three governing bodies ran it before, leading to a leadership gap, confused lines of authority and other troubles. “What came to mind was the old adage, too many cooks in the kitchen,” Gardner said. “What I’ve witnessed, a lot of the concerns and angst … that have boiled to the surface are symptoms of this multi-layered Big Mac … of governance.” Gardner had worked closely in organizing the new 911 agency as a member of the 911 E-Board, one of the three governing bodies that have run the agency up to now.
Longview Daily News

North Whatcom Fire and Rescue called to mobile home fire in Blaine

A fire has destroyed a family's mobile home at 2590 Canada View Drive, according to North Whatcom Fire and Rescue. The fire was reported at 10:20 p.m. Wednesday. "The flames were all the way across the roof upon our arrival," Division Chief Henry Hollander said of the older mobile home. A couple and their four children lived there, but they were not home at the time, Hollander said. No one was hurt. The cause of the fire, which was near the U.S.-Canada border, remained under investigation. Hollander said the family was offered help from the Red Cross but declined. They had a place to stay, he said, and had friends or family bringing them food. Ferndale and Lynden fire crews also responded to the call.
Bellingham Herald

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