2015 Press Releases
December 18, 2015
BAINBRIDGE FIRE TALLIES DECISIVE VICTORY OVER NKF&R IN “FOOD FIGHT”
Instead of throwing food, firefighters from the two agencies collected food in a battle over who could gather the most non-perishables for local charities
(BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash.) – After amassing more than double the amount gathered by firefighters at North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), crews at Bainbridge Island Fire Department (BIFD) have won the “food fight” and are delivering their donations today. They also earn status as the department with the biggest heart following the two-week friendly competition between the two agencies to assemble as many gifts of non-perishable food as possible for local food banks. But, say firefighters, the real winners are those in the community with too little to eat during this holiday season.
BIFD firefighters’ gift – weighing a whopping 1,914 pounds – was delivered to Bainbridge Island’s Helpline House today. NKF&R firefighters split their 825 pounds of donated goods between Kingston Food Bank and ShareNet.
Steve Murray, retiring as NKF&R union leader following his promotion to battalion chief, organized his department’s participation in the challenge. “Our friends at Bainbridge did what they needed to win. And while we would rather be the ones claiming the victory, it’s important to note that the real winners are the local food banks who will have 2,739 pounds additional stock to distribute this season.” Murray adds with a smile, “You just can’t feel bad about that.”
This was the first year for the “food fight.” Representatives of the two agencies will meet in the near future to exchange a small perpetual trophy, recognizing the contest winners each year.
December 9, 2015
CEREMONY MARKS ACHIEVEMENTS OF NKF&R MEMBERS
Two new hires and three promotions honored in annual recognition event on December 7
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — Members of North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and their families came together this week to celebrate important benchmarks in the careers of five members. Four of the five honorees have deep local roots, and all are meeting important needs in the department’s efforts to provide the best possible service to the public.
The vital position of assistant chief, vacant for nearly two years as the district worked to maintain levels of service after the prolonged economic downturn by trimming administrative costs, has been filled by Rick LaGrandeur, a 1991 graduate of North Kitsap High School. The 42 year-old son of a career Army officer was born in Seoul, Korea but his family moved to Poulsbo in time for LaGrandeur to attend local schools. After finishing high school, he joined NKF&R’s well-respected volunteer firefighter training program. LaGrandeur was subsequently hired by the district as a paid firefighter in 1994, promoted to lieutenant in 2000 and has served on A-Shift as one of NKF&R’s three shift battalion chief since 2008. For eight years, he served as a leader in the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local #2819, that represents NKF&R’s union personnel. LaGrandeur holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Command Administration from Olympic College and will soon complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Service Administration through Eastern Oregon University’s distance learning program. His promotion to assistant chief created an opening for battalion chief.
Steve Murray was selected for the battalion chief spot by the fire chief who chose from a list established after a testing process earlier this year. Murray, 34, graduated from North Kitsap High School in 1999. Born in Edmonds, he was raised in Poulsbo where his fire service career started with a brief stint as a volunteer and contract wildland firefighter. He joined NKF&R’s volunteer firefighter training program in late 1999, earning a paid position with the district in 2004. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2009. For the past four years, Murray has also served in the union leadership role. He intends to finish his Associate’s Degree in Fire Science. He has served on A-Shift since 2004 and, now, takes over the reins of managing that crew.
Murray’s lieutenant spot has been filled by the top candidate on that position’s promotional list: Alex Hickey. Alex was raised in Kingston, attending both David Wolfle and Richard Gordon Elementary schools as with as Kingston Junior High. The 27 year-old graduated from North Kitsap High School in 2006 and, shortly thereafter, entered NKF&R’s volunteer firefighter training program. He was hired as a firefighter in 2009 and has since distinguished himself as an enthusiastic consumer of training to enhance his skills. Especially interested in leadership, he plans to begin formalizing his education by completing his Associate’s Degree in Fire Science. Hickey has spearheaded the district’s wildland firefighting team and, most recently, served as lead instructor in NKF&R’s volunteer firefighter academy this past fall.
The district’s two newest firefighter/paramedics both joined NKF&R’s volunteer firefighter training program in 2010 and, after a competitive testing process, earned spots in the world-renowned Seattle-King County Medic One paramedic training program through the University of Washington, Seattle Fire Department and Harborview Medical Center. Both completed the rigorous program earlier this year and, after earning the approval of Kitsap County’s medical program director, secured paid positions at NKF&R. Firefighter/Paramedic Andrea DeCaro, 30, is the only one of the five honorees who wasn’t raised in North Kitsap but he says he’s very happy to have landed here. He was born and raised in Melbourne, Florida. An accomplished French horn player, DeCaro received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business from Greenville College in Illinois but knew that he didn’t want to pursue that career. After moving to Seattle, he attended EMT training through North Seattle Community College before joining NKF&R. Theron Rahier, 25, was born in Ballard but raised in Hansville and Kingston. He attended David Wolfle Elementary and Kingston Junior High before graduating from Kingston High School in 2008 – a member of that school’s first graduating class.
All of the honorees agree that LaGrandeur’s thoughts accurately reflect their own when he says, “It’s humbling to get the chance to serve and to do it here. It’s easy to be dedicated when you are serving a community like this one alongside a team like NKF&R’s.”
Fire Chief Dan Smith also took a moment to recognize the importance of the district’s volunteer programs and, especially, its cadre of tender-operators. This small but valuable group of community members brings thousands of gallons of water to fires, supporting the firefighters by providing vital supply in case fire hydrants aren’t available. Tom Curley has headed this group since 2005 and, although he plans to continue responding water tenders to fires, he has handed over the reins of the cadre to another long-time volunteer, Doug Fischer.
When you see any of these honorees out in the community, please join us in congratulating them on their achievements.
December 2, 2015
FIREFIGHTERS’ GOOD-NATURED COMPETITION BENEFITS A GOOD CAUSE
(KITSAP COUNTY, Wash.) — Two local fire departments are leveraging their members’ love of competition to benefit local food banks during the upcoming holidays.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Bainbridge Island Fire Department (BIFD) regularly work together to resolve challenges such as medical and fire emergencies. This week, leaders of the two departments’ firefighter unions – International Association of Fire Fighters, Locals 2819 and 4034, respectively — have accepted a challenge that will help make the season bright for families who are less fortunate. Until December 15, all of BIFD and NKF&R members will be working against one another in a friendly competition to see which department will collect the largest amount of non-perishable food donations.
The public is encouraged to support their departments by bringing non-perishable food donations to any staffed fire station before the contest ends at 5 p.m. on December 15. The winning agency will have gathered the greatest weight in food. NKF&R will donate its collection to ShareNet and to Kingston Food Bank, while BIFD will gift its proceeds to Bainbridge Helpline House. In addition to bragging rights, the winning agency will earn the right to display a trophy declaring its status as the department with the biggest heart.
November 23, 2015
ELECTRICAL FIRE DAMAGES HANSVILLE HOME
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – A woman and her teenaged daughter were temporarily displaced but, due to early reporting and the first-arriving fire crew’s quick work, damage was limited after an apparent electrical fire broke out in a home here last evening.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department crews were called to the older, turn-of-the-century home just after 11 p.m. Sunday<x-apple-data-detectors://8>. The home’s resident told crews she’d heard a bang and, upon investigation, found the home’s fuse box burning. She and her dog evacuated (the teen wasn’t home), and the woman called 911 to summon firefighters. The first crew to arrive, responding from the district’s Hansville station, was on scene in just over eight minutes. They found smoke coming from the home’s eaves and flames visible in a mud/utility room connecting the structure to an adjacent garage. Firefighters closed the house’s front door to deprive the growing fire from air and, from outside, quickly applied water through a window to slow the flames’ progress sufficiently. Upon the next crew’s arrival, the fire was mostly out.
As a result of the fire, three homes were without power for a short time. Puget Sound Energy responded to correct the problem. An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office also came to the scene. Based on witness statements and evidence at the scene, it appears that the incident was accidental and related to an electrical problem. The exact cause remains under investigation.
Fire damage was limited to the mud/utility room and the adjacent hallway, but smoke damage affected the entire two-story, 1,800 SF structure. The family is insured but can’t live in the home until repairs are made. They are staying with neighbors.
There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
November 11, 2015
TEN NEW VOLUNTEERS GRADUATE NKF&R FIREFIGHTER ACADEMY
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – Ten firefighters marked an important step on the road to a fire service career as they celebrated the end of an intensive firefighting training academy with graduation and awards ceremonies here on Saturday.
Out of a pool of tens of applicants expressing an interest last summer in North Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s (NKF&R) well-respected Volunteer-Intern Firefighter program last summer, thirteen made it through written and physical testing as well as interviews to earn a place in the fall’s ten-week course. The academy includes rigorous academic work and practical training in a wide range of skills. Those completing the course are eligible to take the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) certification tests for Firefighter I and Hazardous Materials Operations this week. Unfortunately, three of the original group were unable to finish the course due to injuries and other issues.
The graduates, who’ve aptly named their 2015 class “The Guardians,” are:
– Lars Bohanna, 18, Ashland, OR
– Janelle Bonneau, 20, Kennewick
– Corey Brown, 18, Edmonds
– Colton Campbell, 18, Bremerton
– Harrison Hause, 18, Burien
– Tyler Horner, 23, Kingston
– Charlie Hough, 25, Port Orchard
– James Mclaren
– Kaleb Murray, 24, Poulsbo
– Bruce Symonds, 26, Port Angeles
Several special honors were also awarded during Saturday’s ceremonies:
– Valedictorian: Lars Bohanna
Also known as “academic excellence,” the recipient of this award has achieved the highest score on written tests during the course of the academy.
– Bulldogs: Janelle Bonneau, Tyler Horner and Kaleb Murray
Awards by instructors as merited over the course of the academy, the Bulldog is earned by recruits who exhibit a special degree of tenacity, leadership, commitment to teamwork and ability to overcome adversity.
– Academy Bulldog: Bruce Symonds
The Academy Bulldog is awarded to the recruit who, in the eyes of the instructors as well as fellow recruits, best represents the characteristics of the Bulldog as described above.
– Most Inspirational: Harrison Hause
The recipient of this award is selected by his or her fellow recruits for exceptional dedication to motivating and supporting the team.
– Chief’s Company: Janelle Bonneau, Tyler Horner, Kaleb Murray and Bruce Symonds
The Chief’s Company, selected by the academy drillmaster and instructors, is awarded to several recruits whose individual skills, attitude and team spirit have earned them membership on the ideal truck or engine company from among the members of this academy.
Despite these achievements, the new recruits’ studies are not complete. Emergency vehicle operations, fire department pumpers/hydraulics and wildland firefighting courses are coming up. Half of this academy’s candidates came to NKF&R already certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs); the remaining five volunteer-interns will start EMT training in January.
NKF&R’s Volunteer-Intern Firefighter program began in 1987. Participants get valuable training, certifications and experience while serving regular shifts — 48 hours on-duty and 96 hours off — alongside NKF&R’s duty crews. Once qualified, the volunteer-interns play important roles, supplementing the district’s core of paid personnel. NKF&R’s taxpayers benefit from the augmented staffing and the program participants benefit from a competitive edge when testing for jobs. In fact, since the program’s launch, more than 170 men and women have gone on to earn paid positions in emergency services agencies across Washington state and beyond, including: Seattle Fire Department, Everett Fire Department, Redmond Fire Department, Tacoma Fire Department, Snohomish County Fire District #1, East Jefferson Fire Rescue, Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue, Snohomish County Fire District #7, Bellingham Fire Department, Bremerton Fire Department, Lynnwood Fire Department, Graham Fire & Rescue, Gig Harbor Fire & EMS, West Pierce Fire & Rescue, Lacey Fire Department, Portland Fire & Rescue, Spokane Fire Department, South Kitsap Fire & Rescue, Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue, Poulsbo Fire Department and, of course, NKF&R itself.
NKF&R hopes to host another academy in the fall of 2016. Additional information about the program is available at the district’s web site, www.nkfr.org or by contacting NKF&R at (360)297-3619.
October 27, 2015
MAN, DOG INJURED IN KINGSTON TRAILER EXPLOSION
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – A man in his fifties sustained life-threatening injuries and a dog was singed when a travel trailer exploded in a propane-fueled blast near here this morning.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to the Brazeau Mobile Home Park just before 10 a.m. after a deputy from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), on welfare check of the subject inside, detected what appeared to be dangerous levels of propane in the 20’ trailer, attempted without success to get the occupant to evacuate and requested a fire department response. Additional information about the events prior to NKF&R’s arrival this morning is available through KCSO’s Public Information Officer, Scott Wilson.
Firefighters arrived at the scene, located on Ritter Lane near its intersection with SR 104, about 3-1/2 miles west of Kingston within ten minutes. They were working with deputies to evacuate the neighboring residents when the explosion occurred at about 10:20 a.m., completely destroying the travel trailer and flinging debris as far as 75’ away. Shortly after the blast, the 59 year-old male occupant of the trailer emerged from its tangled remains. NKF&R paramedics called for an Airlift Northwest helicopter but, due to adverse weather conditions preventing the flight, transported the man to the Seattle trauma and burn center via ambulance and Washington State Ferry.
The man’s dog, a small adult Golden Retriever named Missy, was found with neighbors and in surprisingly good condition. Her fur was singed and her whiskers were burned away. She was handed over to Kitsap County Animal Control for veterinary examination and care.
The Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office came to the scene to investigate the details of the explosion. Firefighters found two propane tanks – one, with its valve partially-open, inside the remains of the trailer.
There were no other injuries to firefighters or civilians. Though the trailer was destroyed, adjacent properties appear to have escaped serious damage.
October 22, 2015
FIREFIGHTERS HELP RESCUE HORSE
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — Though it’s not always possible for firefighters to help with rescues that don’t involve human lives, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were able to play an important role in extricating a horse from deep mud near here this evening.
The horse’s owner was riding the 24 year-old mare on trails near his Wyant Road home when the animal became mired in slippery mud. After spending as much as an hour attempting to free her himself, the man called 911 for additional help at about 4:45 p.m. Four firefighters responded from the district’s nearby headquarters fire station. Using a combination of ropes, crews were able to shift the horse’s position sufficiently to provide her with firmer ground. Shortly thereafter, Penny was able to use the more solid surface to regain her own footing.
Examined by a veterinarian after the rescue, the horse appeared to have come through the ordeal without serious injury.
Firefighters say they were glad to be able to help. NKF&R Spokeswoman Michele Laboda points out that it isn’t always possible for firefighters to assist in animal rescues. “If the effort puts firefighters in excessive danger or threatens their readiness to respond to other incidents, we might not be able to help.” In this case, she says, crews could be a part of a happy ending for Penny and her owner.
October 16, 2015
NEW LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT ON AMBULANCES
Large donation from Suquamish Tribe helps Harrison Medical Center Foundation make gift to NKF&R
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — Funded largely by a generous $50,000 gift from the Suquamish Tribe, technologically-advanced heart monitors have been presented to NKF&R by the Harrison Medical Center Foundation that the district might have otherwise been unable to afford. The LifePak 15 has advantages over the previous model, the LifePak 12. During CPR situations, earlier models only read chest compressions. The newer version allows responders to better assess and treat by showing the patient’s underlying heart rhythm, too. Most importantly, the new units can instantly send vital patient data to hospital physicians who, with this information in hand, can ensure that life-saving interventions are ready to be administered as soon as the patient arrives at the hospital door. Two of the LifePak 15 units went into service on NKF&R’s paramedic units in mid-October. The gift is part of the Harrison Foundation’s extensive effort to improve patient outcomes in cardiac events by strengthening every link in the chain of survival across the region.
Learn more about the story in this blog post from the Kitsap Sun’s Rachel Anne Seymour.
September 18, 2015
OUTDOOR BURN BAN LIFTED
Return of wet fall weather eases fire danger
(PORT ORCHARD, Wash.) –The Kitsap County Fire Marshal announced this morning that, effective immediately and due to an earlier than expected return to fall weather patterns, the summer outdoor burn ban has been lifted.
As of Friday, September 18, 2015 all outdoor burning may resume subject to the normal rules and regulations. Land clearing burning is still prohibited throughout the county and burning permits are required for general outdoor burning. Recreational burning (fires of less than 3’x3’x2′ in a designated pit and containing only seasoned firewood or charcoal) may be conducted without permits. Permits are available free of charge from local fire districts.
According to David Lynam, Kitsap County Fire Marshal, “The early return of our fall weather pattern bringing rain, cooler temperatures and higher humidity allows us to open burning earlier than originally anticipated.” The fire marshal urges anyone doing outdoor burning to exercise caution and be mindful of smoke conditions that can affect your neighbors.
August 31, 2015
BURN BAN DOWNGRADED TO PHASE I
(PORT ORCHARD, Wash.) – The current Phase II burn ban has been reduced to a Phase I burn ban due to the rain this weekend. “The rain over the weekend was a welcome sight – and it provided some relief,” according to Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam. “A good deal more moisture that hangs around long enough to be absorbed by fuels is needed before the Phase I ban can be lifted,” Lynam added.
The Phase I ban on general outdoor burning remains in effect. The downgrading of the burn ban now permits recreational fires, including fires in outdoor fireplaces, barbecues, designated camp fire locations and fires in fire pits that are no larger than three feet in diameter and located at least 25 feet from combustibles.
The fire marshal urges caution before igniting any type of residential fire. “The biggest help we can be to the east side of our state is to be sure nothing gets going on this side,” said Lynam.
August 11, 2015 | 6:00 p.m.
OPERATIONS WRAPPED UP AT NEAT AVENUE FIRE
Crews to conduct regular patrols of the site, checking for hot spots
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – Firefighting efforts at the Neat Avenue Fire ended Monday evening after more than fifty personnel from six agencies spent three days working with loggers and heavy equipment operators to contain and extinguish the 1.5 acre blaze in deep duff and thick vegetation. Today, firefighters spent time between other calls cleaning tools as well as the thousands of feet of hose that were used at the incident. For at least the coming week, crews will be conducting regular patrols of the area to find and snuff any flare-ups should they occur.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews went to the site initially on Saturday morning following multiple reports of the smell of smoke. Upon discovering the fire, officials called for additional crews from South Kitsap Fire & Rescue, Poulsbo Fire Department, Jefferson County Fire District #2 (Quilcene) and Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue. A logger also joined the effort on Saturday as did a bulldozer and its operator from Lydell Construction. Sunday’s crew included a logger, an excavator and its operator from Port Madison Enterprises Construction Company (PMECC) as well as firefighters from Port Ludlow, Quilcene and East Jefferson Fire-Rescue. The anticipated crew from Washington State Department of Natural Resources was diverted to new fires in southwestern Washington; NKF&R personnel, working at the site all day, were able to ensure that the fire was sufficiently extinguished to permit a shift from operational mode into patrol mode.
Officials say that, while it’s unlikely that the fire would reignite, the area is now surrounded with a fire break and, as a further precaution, firefighters will be making regular visits to the site.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined. There have been no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
August 9, 2015 | 4:30 p.m.
FIREFIGHTERS CONTINUE WORKING AT NEAT AVENUE WILDLAND FIRE
Tenacious fire completely contained but not fully extinguished
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) firefighters, assisted today by a forester and a heavy equipment operator as well as by personnel from Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue and East Jefferson Fire – Rescue, have fully-contained the stubborn fire but don’t expect to have it fully extinguished until Monday or Tuesday. The fire continues to pose no immediate threat to nearby homes, smoke levels have decreased and the blaze’s cause has yet been determined.
Crews have been on the scene, south of here and near the Jefferson Beach neighborhood, since Saturday morning at about 8 a.m. The fire, which generated enough smoke to be detected across the community, was initially difficult to locate and to access. Situated about a half-mile from the closest road access and more than a mile from the closest fire hydrant, the fire appeared to have been smoldering for several days prior to its discovery. Uneven terrain, fallen debris and heavy underbrush complicated crews’ efforts on Saturday until a tractor and a bulldozer created pathways into the heart of the fire which blackened about 1.5 acres across a 5 acre area. Eventually, firefighters deployed thousands of feet of hose lines. Water supply was provided by water tender trucks carrying 2 – 3,000 gallons each. Mature trees’ root systems were undermined by the deep-seated fire which burned up through their cores, with flames visible through holes as much as 60 feet above the ground. These weakened trees posed further hazards to firefighters. A forester was on scene on Saturday and Sunday to help crews identify and safely remove the destabilized trees. With the fire firmly contained, site conditions made it too dangerous for overnight operations though a team of firefighters remained worked all night chasing down flare-ups as they occurred. Thirteen firefighters are on scene today as is a heavy equipment operator, working with an excavator to restack heavy debris and help crews more efficiently reach hot spots. These crews will work until sundown this evening when another overnight team will stay on scene to ensure the blaze’s continued containment. Officials at NKF&R hope to get additional assistance on Monday from Washington State Department of Natural Resources crews.
Officials have not determined a cause for the labor-intensive fire. The site is within an 80-acre parcel that, as described above, is difficult to access. The property owners have told firefighters that they’ve long been concerned about fireworks coming from neighboring properties in Jefferson Beach but firefighters have not yet found evidence tying fireworks use to this incident.
No structures have been damaged and, to date, there have been no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
August 8, 2015 | 5:30 p.m.
LARGE WILDLAND FIRE MOSTLY CONTAINED, BUT SMOKE IMPACTING NORTH KITSAP
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – Since just after 8 a.m. today, more than twenty firefighters have been on the scene of a stubborn and smoky wildland fire burning through the thick stands of second-growth timber between Kingston and the community of Jefferson Beach in challenging terrain. The blaze, estimated to have blackened two acres, is posing no immediate threat to nearby structures or populated areas but firefighters are working diligently to ensure that it remains contained. The fire’s cause isn’t known; at this time, officials are focusing their efforts on firefighting and have not yet turned their attention to determining what sparked the incident.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were summoned to investigate the source of smoke reported by multiple parties around the area. After searching for about thirty minutes, firefighters located the fire about a half-mile from the closest road access in very uneven terrain and thick vegetation east of Neat Avenue. Officials called for the additional personnel and resources of a second alarm which brought crews to help from as far away as South Kitsap Fire & Rescue along with those from the neighboring agencies of Poulsbo Fire Department, Jefferson County Fire District #2 (Quilcene) and Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue. Firefighters have spent the day working with a heavy equipment operator to build a break by removing vegetation around the fire’s perimeter. As of this writing, that line is firmly in place around 80% of the incident. Though crews, aided by today’s cooler temperatures and higher humidity, expect to have 100% containment by nightfall, fire continues to burn inside the line. Teams will remain on scene overnight to ensure the perimeter remains intact, but won’t be engaged in active firefighting due to the hazards presented by falling trees and difficult topography. It is hoped that the fire can be completely extinguished within the next few days, before temperatures begin to soar again.
In an effort to avoid costly and complicated incidents such as the Neat Avenue Fire, officials imposed a prohibition on all outdoor fires on July 13. Under the ban, no open flames are allowed unless in contained BBQ units and fueled by charcoal, propane, natural gas or camping fuels. That ban is expected to remain in place until the region experiences significant and sustained rainfall. As of this writing, showers are moving through the Kingston area. Though the rain certainly doesn’t hurt, officials emphasize that it won’t be enough to help extinguish the Neat Avenue Fire nor is it enough to have a meaningful impact on current high levels of fire danger.
Again, the Neat Avenue Fire is responsible for smoke in the area but it does not pose an immediate threat to nearby structures or populated areas.
August 7, 2015
ILLEGAL BURN BARREL SPARKS BLAZE
(Between KINGSTON and SUQUAMISH, Wash.) – Moments after papers in a burn barrel were lit here this morning, sparks escaped the container to start a blaze that threatened several buildings and scorched about 900 square feet of vegetation before it was snuffed. Officials say that the quick responses of the property owner and the fire department were all that kept the fire from racing further through bone-dry vegetation to involve more land and structures.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) were called to an address on Early Dawn Lane, off of Miller Bay Road, at 8:35 on Friday morning when a neighbor saw the flames spreading rapidly into large trees and toward a large home. The first unit to arrive was on scene within seven minutes of the neighbor’s 911 call, and reported no flames visible. Although firefighters credit the property owner with using a garden hose to slow the fire’s progress, they say that it’s most important to first get the fire department on the way in case bystander efforts to fight the fire aren’t successful. Crews spent about an hour applying additional water and digging up the burned areas to ensure that the blaze was fully extinguished.
The property owner told crews that he’d just lit the burn barrel (something, he said, he’d done many times without incident) and, while standing there, saw the fire start and spread with incredible speed.
Due to extreme fire danger, a total ban on all outdoor burning has been in place sine July 13 Even when there is no fire danger burn ban in place, burn barrels have been outlawed in Kitsap County for several decades (http://www.pscleanair.org/priorities/outdoorburning/Pages/default.aspx). Officials remind the public that, in the event that an out-of-control fire results from violation of the burn ban or other outdoor burning laws, private citizens may be held responsible for the cost of extinguishment as well as for property damage. Furthermore, many homeowners’ insurance policies won’t pay for damages if they’re caused by the covered entity’s illegal activity.