Calm response to fire serves as reminder for families to practice their escape plan

A cool headed response insured no injuries after an Aberdeen family smelled smoke in their bathroom, shut the door and evacuated from a small fire attic Friday morning.
Battalion Chief Dave Golding tells us at 9:54 Am on Friday May 8, 2015 the Aberdeen Fire Department, along with the Hoquiam Fire Department, was dispatched for a structure fire, flames in the bathroom, going into the attic at 405 E. Scott Street in South Aberdeen.
Upon arrival units found a small fire in the ceiling of the bathroom that was quickly extinguished by fire crews. The cause of the fire appears to electrical in nature. An estimated $1,500.00 damage was caused.
The Aberdeen Fire Department responded with a total of 5 pieces of apparatus (1 Command Unit, 1 Ladder Truck, 1 Engine and 2 Medic Units) with 8 firefighters as well as 1 Engine (2 Firefighters) from the Hoquiam Fire Department.
The extent of damage could have been much worse if it not detected as early as it was by the occupants. The occupants were home at the time when they noticed smoke in the bathroom. They calmly shut the door to the room and evacuated the structure to a safe place. By doing so the occupants ensured that fire spread was cut to a minimum as well as ensuring their personal safety in evacuating the structure.
The Aberdeen Fire Department recommends that families establish and practice home escape plans on a regular basis. These plans should include a safe meeting place outside for all family members to go. Anyone wishing to have help in creating a home escape plan can contact their local fire department for assistance.

No injuries, several affected, at apartment fire in Aberdeen

Unattended cooking may have been the cause of an apartment fire in Aberdeen Wednesday. No injuries were reported, two pet cats were saved, one was treated for smoke inhalation. Captain Jr. Streifel with the Aberdeen Fire Department tells us they responded to a fire in an Apartment complex in the 1200 block of Arthur Street at 1:05 Wednesday afternoon. Initial reports were that an occupant was trapped inside the apartment. Upon arrival initial crews found a single unit with significant smoke and flames coming from the front and rear of the second story. The alarm was escalated to a 2nd Alarm response for additional personnel. Due to the reports of a victim, initial actions taken included search and rescue, it was later reported that the apartment was unoccupied.

A total of 22 firefighters were used to extinguish the fire including 2 firefighters and 1 Engine from Hoquiam Fire Department and the Chief and Assistant Chief of the Aberdeen Fire Department. A total of 3 Engines, 1 ladder truck, 1 command unit, 3 medic units and two Chief vehicles were used to manage the incident. The first units on scene arrived at 1:11PM.

The fire was contained to the apartment where the fire originated with minor smoke and water damage to adjacent units and two units on the first floor. The Fire Department was successful in limiting the fire damage to the rest of the apartment complex. Firefighters were also successful in placing salvage tarps throughout the first floor of the lower exposure units to prevent further damage from water. Efforts were also made to salvage personal belongings of affected occupants. Fire was declared knocked down at 1:36.

The affected occupants of the complex were able to safely evacuate. Two pet cats were rescued from the Apartment with one treated on scene for smoke inhalation injuries. There were no civilian or Firefighter injuries from this fire. The origin and cause of the fire are believed to have originated from a pan of oil on the stove left unattended.

Lessons Learned: Never leave cooking and heating elements unattended.

No injuries at Elma Apartment fire that displaces several families

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.

Grays Harbor Fire District #5 along with firefighters from the City of McCleary, Grays Harbor Fire District #2 and the…

Posted by Grays Harbor Fire District 5 on Friday, April 17, 2015

Multiple alarm fire at Sierra Pacific kept to outside of sawmill

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.

Battalion Chief Bill Mayne retires after 36 years with Aberdeen Fire Department

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.

Hoquiam Union approves agreement that avoids Fire Department layoffs

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.

Hoquiam staff and firefighters reach tentative agreement to avoid layoffs

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.”

No injuries at Kila Hana Camperland fire overnight in Westport

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 firefighters rally for support

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 Firefighters signs of support
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Hoquiam Firefighters Union voices concerns over layoffs affecting community safety

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.