An apartment fire in Elma displaced about a dozen people last night. Fire Chief Dana Smith tells us they were called to the Woodsvilla Apartment complex just after 4 Thursday afternoon. No injuries were reported from the blaze that destroyed at least two apartments in one of the six unit buildings, Smith said the other units in that building are un-inhabitable due to damage to the roof and shared attic space. Smith said they know where the fire started, however “the unit the fire started in was so rapidly involved and burned so hot.” it’s not likely they will find a cause of the fire.
The fire burned so hot that crews started their response in a defensive stance, protecting the nearby Microtel motel and other units in the complex from the fire spreading.
The Elma Eagles Lodge brought out dinner for the firefighters and families affected during the response last night, the Red Cross was also contacted to assist the families with housing.
Those looking to aid Harbor families in times of emergencies, can make donations to the American Red Cross. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
No injuries from a conveyor belt fire early Sunday morning at Sierra Pacific. Aberdeen Battalion Chief Troy Palmer tells us they responded to the Junction City area, along with Fire District #10, and Hoquiam’s ladder truck, just after 1:30 Sunday morning to find a 350 foot section of conveyor belt burning along the back of the mill.
A total of 15 firefighters responded to the alarm. 8 firefighters responded from AFD with 1 command unit, 2 Engines, and 1 Medic Unit. A total of 5 Firefighter responded from GHFD #10 with 2 Engines, and 1 Aid Car. A mutual aid Ladder Truck was also requested from the Hoquiam Fire Department that responded with 2 firefighters.
Palmer said the fire took a total of 15 firefighters about 2 and a half hours to get under control, but they were able to contain it to just the equipment and prevented it from entering the wood mill. The cause of the fire is under investigation, damages were not yet available from Sierra Pacific.
It was a busy weekend for Aberdeen crews, they also knocked down a shed on fire in the 200 block of Scott street Saturday afternoon, no injuries were reported there.
Aberdeen city staff said goodbye last night to Battalion Chief Bill Mayne, Fire Chief Tom Hubbard told the council “Battalion Chief Bill Mayne has dedicated his career to providing for the safety of the citizens we serve, and the firefighters with which he has worked. Bill we wish you well on your retirement, your wisdom and knowledge will truly be missed, and you will always be considered a member of the fire department family.”
The chief, and Mayor Bill Simpson presented Mayne with a plaque honoring his service. “Congratulations on your future, but you are always welcome at city hall here too.”
Mayne thanked the current council, and those before “I just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity that the city gave me to be a career firefighter for the last 36 years. It has truly been good for me, a blessing to me, and it’s been an honor to have worked in that capacity.” Mayne said his last day will be Monday June 30th.
Ratified last night by a unanimous vote, the Hoquiam Fire Department’s Union has reached an agreement with the city to avoid the layoff of four firefighters announced last month. In the final week of their employment, two firefighters and two paramedics were notified that they are keeping their positions.
Union Local 315 President Doug Stankavich said the agreement was ratified by unanimous vote at a meeting of the union last night.
City Administrator Brian Shay said that they still have a great deal of work ahead to collectively address the city’s serious budget problem.
The Hoquiam Fire Department has reached an agreement with its union and the city to avoid planned layoffs of two firefighters and two paramedics. In the final week of their 30 day’s notice they were notified after the city and the Union met for most of the day Tuesday to iron out the agreement.
City Administrator Brian Shay tells KBKW there’s still work to be done to collectively address the city’s serious budget problem, but the layoffs have been taken off the table. The agreement will also settle a grievance filed by the local firefighters union.
Local 315 President Doug Stankavich says the union will meet Tuesday to vote on a memorandum of understanding.
The City of Hoquiam and the International Firefighters Association Local 315 are happy to announce an agreement that will avoid layoffs throughout 2014.
“The City is hopeful that the changes made to the handling of ambulance transfers will result in enough increased revenue to get the City back to a balanced budget by year end,” said City Administrator Brian Shay. “This agreement is a good start to collectively address a long term solution to our serious budget problems.”
“The Hoquiam Firefighters are extremely pleased to have worked in conjunction with City Officials, coming to a tentative agreement that will both settle the grievance filed by the Local as well as save the four positions that had been given layoff notices,” said Firefighters Local President Doug Stankavich. “We all know there is much work to be done in the near future to find viable ways to maintain the staffing and service levels we currently offer the citizens of Hoquiam.”
“I am really proud of our administrative staff and the members of our Fire Department who sat down and came to an agreement that avoids the laying off of 4 great employees,” said Mayor Jack Durney. “I believe we have started to mend relationships and are ready to start having a serious dialogue about how we fund public safety.”
Westport firefighters were up late dowsing flames at the Kela Hana Camperland. The fire was reported in the main office building of the campsite at 1:10 this morning.
Police report no injuries, they stopped traffic on Forrest Street in the 900 block for a couple of hours to protect water lines.
The fire was fully involved when crews arrived, they had it under control and crews cleared the scene by around 3:25 this morning. The building is a total loss, no injuries were reported, a cause will be released when it’s determined.
Hoquiam Fire Fighters are taking to the streets for support, Local 315 President Doug Stankavich tells us they’re worried about response times and safety after recent reductions in staffing were announced earlier this month.
Stankavich is standing with about 30 supporters on the corner of 8th and Simpson in downtown Hoquiam this morning. “We’re out here trying to drum up support and awareness for our citizens and the districts that we serve outside the city. We’d like everybody to contact their council members during this week and be aware of the council meeting next Tuesday at 7 P.M. Let’s crowd city hall and see if we can’t save our firefighter positions.
The city earlier this month laid off 4 firefighters, citing a decrease in ambulance billing and call volume, Stankavich said they were given their 30 day’s notice earlier this month “The council meeting next week is their final week. The 30th will be the first day without those positions. What I’m told is that we have been ordered to run with 4 personnel that day.” adding that operating without that fifth person will greatly affect how the department can respond to fire and aid calls.
Supporters plan to rally every morning in Hoquiam until the next city council meeting on the 27th.
Hoquiam Fire Fighters are Voicing their Concerns Over recent reductions in service. The city earlier this month laid off 4 firefighters, citing a decrease in ambulance billing and call volume. Local 315 Union President Doug Stankavich tells us recent policy changes have not only limited staffing, they are beginning to affect the departments ability to respond because the department cannot call in off duty firemen. The department issued the following press release yesterday.
The Hoquiam Fire Department, and more specifically its firefighters, have unfairly come under fire recently and it is time to set the record straight. The fact of the matter is the citizens of Hoquiam are not as safe as they used to be.
While all other city employees, both union and non-union, accepted a 1.5% raise beginning January 1, 2014, Hoquiam Fire Fighters have worked extremely hard on a contract proposal that will save the taxpayer money while maintaining all positions, including the four that have been irresponsibly laid off.
Hoquiam politicians cite a 10% reduction in revenue in the ambulance budget as the reason for the unwarranted layoffs, pointing to a decrease in call volume as the reason for the reduction. Hoquiam is no different than any other fire department in the nation in that call volumes have steadily increased over the last 10 years.
Through a series of press releases, the citizens of Hoquiam have been erroneously led to believe its fire fighters are refusing to go on calls. None of this is accurate. Fire fighters respond to ALL 911 calls and always treat every emergency with the care and attention that would be given to their own family members.
Due to policy changes even prior to these layoffs, fire fighter staffing has been dangerously and irresponsibly limited, affecting the city’s ability to provide the emergency response taxpayers are led to believe they are funding. These recent policy changes have affected the functional operation of our department and have put the citizens and our personnel at an increased risk. These policy changes assure no off duty personnel are called in to cover the city when our department responds to fire or EMS calls in any of the surrounding districts, while transporting non-emergent patients to and from the hospital for MRI services and while transporting airlift crews to and from the hospital to Bowerman Airfield. This leaves the city with only three personnel while the other fire fighters Hoquiam pays for are either out of the city or occupied with non-emergent tasks.
Hoquiam Fire Fighters have filed a grievance regarding these policy changes that, when resolved, will hopefully bring a better level of safety back to its citizens and firefighters. We are still negotiating and can deliver a significant savings to the budget while maintaining the current staffing levels. Also in the discussions is the possible consolidation with the City of Aberdeen Fire Department.
These reasons alone are enough to cause us to wonder why the layoffs were so urgent. There are plenty more questions to be asked of your Councilperson(s), Mayor and the City Administrator.
Crews evacuated two bed ridden patients from a house fire in Oakville early Wednesday morning. Fire District 1 Chief Kevin Witt tells us flames were visible when they arrived at the home in the 2300 block of South Bank road around 2:17 A.M.. Both were evacuated, one person was transported from the scene with non life threatening injuries. Witt said they knew the health conditions of the residents, and called for mutual aid from Grays Harbor, Thurston and Lewis county units right away.
Witt said the fire was knocked down by about 2:46, crews were on scene until almost 6 Wednesday morning.
Oakville Firefighters were called to a report of a house fire just after 2:15am early Wednesday morning in the 2300 block South Bank Rd in the Oakville area. The 2 story, 1800sq. foot house was owner occupied and had working smoke detectors. Owners were home and were alerted by smoke detectors and called 911. Fire was also reported by multiple neighbors who could see a fire in the upper story and called for help as well. Upon Grays Harbor Fire Dist. 1 arrival, there was heavy pressurized fire from the second story windows and multiple bystander’s alongside Chehalis Tribal Police who began heroic evacuation efforts. Patients were unable to ambulate, and the critical assistance from Tribal law Enforcement and neighbors to the firefighters made for a successful rescue. The family was treated on the scene by EMT’s from West Thurston Fire, until AMR Ambulance arrived for patient transport to an area hospital. Additional crews were called in from West Thurston Fire, Riverside Fire and Grays Harbor Fire Dist. 5 to assist with patient care, fire control and water shuttles.
“In the light of the day I’m standing here in “awe” over the extraordinary feat that the Tribal Police, neighbors and firefighters did to save lives. To see what effort they did to rescue people who were unable to rescue themselves. This is what communities do.” Lt. Lanette Dyer, from West Thurston Fire said.
The family’s home sustained heavy fire damage to the second story and significant smoke and water damage to the first story. Fire department cleared the scene at 5:30 am and turned over the home to the Tribal Authority for in fire investigation. No firefighter injuries to report.
The City of Hoquiam is laying off four firefighters. City Administrator Brian Shay said they gave formal notice to the department early Tuesday. Staff said in a press release Tuesday “The City of Hoquiam has been able to manage its way through The Great Recession, the subprime mortgage crisis and even the permanent closure of its largest employer. However, in 2013 ambulance calls for service dropped by 9% and revenues declined by over 10%. Further declines in calls for service and revenue are forecast for 2014 leaving the City no other option but to act and to act quickly.
“These people we are laying off, they are all excellent firefighters,” Chief Paul Dean said. “They are all dedicated to serving and protecting the people of Hoquiam.”
Changes in firefighter staffing have been discussed since last year when the Ambulance Fund had to borrow $100,000 at the end of 2013. “We had hoped that 2013 was an anomaly and that calls for service would pick up in 2014 and return to 2012 levels. But they have continued to decline even further,” said Finance Director Mike FoIkers.
With this notice, the City of Hoquiam will have seen a 24% reduction in its workforce touching almost every department through layoffs and attrition since 1992. “Each loss has been a painful yet necessary step,” said City Administrator Brian Shay. “In these economic times, we cannot ignore difficult budget problems, and we must make the tough decisions that ensure we are providing the most efficient and effective service as possible within our available resources.”
Mayor Jack Durney said, “The City will continue to stay focused on the basic municipal services we provide our citizens, including public safety, public works and emergency services. These layoff of our youngest is painful. We hired them and we work with them every day. They define what kind of professional organization we wish to be and it is regrettable that the combination of our local economy, the reduction in calls for service, and reduction in medical reimbursements has caused this to be needed.”
The Hoquiam Fire and Ambulance budget is $2.8 million with 23 employees.
The firefighter’s local union 315 asked for prayers on their facebook page this morning, stating that the four affected were told that they would not have a job in 30 days.