August 16, 2018
PHASE TWO BURN BAN BEGINS FRIDAY
(PORT ORCHARD, Wash.) – A Phase Two burn ban begins Friday at 8:00 a.m. in Kitsap County. “Elevated temperatures for extended periods, and our lack of precipitation has created a high fire danger in Kitsap County, and across the region,” according to David Lynam, County Fire Marshal.
During a Phase Two burn ban no outdoor fires of any kind are allowed. This includes recreational fires as well as the use of backyard fire kettles, chimneys, or fire pits. Cooking fires in contained barbecue units are permitted during a Phase Two burn ban.
“Light fuels including grass, dead brush, leaves, and pine needles, are extremely dry and susceptible to ignition from any type of spark. Even residential fires can ignite light fuels which readily spread to heavier items,” Lynam said. “Conditions are just too dangerous to continue any outdoor burning – and resources to respond to a fire if one breaks out are very limited,” he added.
No major change in weather conditions is forecasted.
Resources from surrounding communities are extremely limited and help from state and federal agencies is not immediately available. Similar bans are already in effect throughout all lands protected by the Department of Natural Resources and throughout Mason county.
The current ban is likely to remain in effect until conditions improve with significant and sustained rainfall.
August 8, 2018
NKF&R PROPOSES REPLACEMENT FOR EXPIRING LEVIES
If approved, funding will maintain current levels of service by supporting both day-to-day operations and long-deferred capital needs
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – Officials at North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) announced today that the district is placing a measure on the November general election ballot that, if approved, will replace two expiring taxes. Passage of the measure will help the district to maintain current levels of service by providing necessary resources to fund both operations and capital needs.
The proposed maintenance and operations (M&O) levy would allow the district to collect an additional $1.6 million in annual revenue for four years, beginning in 2019. The estimated 2019 tax rate would be about $0.48 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. However, because two of the district’s voter-approved measures are expiring and increasing assessed valuations are causing other levy rates to fall, it’s estimated that approval of the new M&O will result in a total fire tax rate for most of the district’s property owners that’s about the same as the 2018 rate.
NKF&R’s 1999 voter-approved bonds will be paid off at the end of 2018. Because the citizens served by the former Kitsap County Fire District #14 (Hansville/Eglon) were not yet a part of NKF&R when the bonds were approved, properties there couldn’t be levied for the bonds’ repayment. The $5.5 million issue funded construction and furnishing of the Kingston headquarters and South Kingston satellite fire stations, a training tower and apparatus maintenance facility as well as the purchase of apparatus. The 2018 rate on the bond repayment is about $0.15 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation.
The district’s 2014 voter-approved M&O levy also expires at the end of 2018. The 2018 rate is about $0.20 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. If approved, the proposed M&O levy rate will be the same on properties across the entire district (including on properties in Hansville, Cliffside and Eglon that previously couldn’t be levied to repay the 1999 bond) but the effects on individual taxpayers will vary with property location as well as with increases or decreases to each property’s assessed valuation. For detailed examples of the proposal’s effects, see the illustration at left. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the district for information on impacts to their specific tax bill.
The November request is part of the district’s continued effort to recover from the lingering effects of the recession that started in 2008. By state law, fire protection districts are limited in their revenue sources. NKF&R receives 82% of its operating funds through property taxes so when property values plummeted, so did tax revenues. Between 2009 and 2014, the district collected $2.5 million less in funding than it would have during normal economic conditions. Although valuations are now recovering, statutory caps on tax increases prevent the district’s revenues from recovering at the same rate. Fire and emergency medical taxes average about 15% of each property tax bill.
To ensure that the public has all of the information needed to make a decision on the proposal, NKF&R is hosting a series of public meetings. The most current list of those events as well as many other resources will be available on the district’s web site at www.nkfr.org.
State law requires the district to appoint committees to write both pro and con statements by August 14. Individuals interested in volunteering for either committee are encouraged to contact District Secretary Cindy Moran at (360)297-3619.
NKF&R serves the communities of Hansville, Kingston, Miller Bay, Indianola and Suquamish across a 46 square mile area. A board of five commissioners, elected at large, oversees the district. That body meets on the second and fourth Mondays of every month at 7 p.m. in NKF&R’s headquarters fire station (26642 Miller Bay Road NE). The district’s 2018 operating budget is $6.9 million. In 2017, crews responded to 3,052 incidents from four staffed fire stations. About two-third of all calls were for emergency medical services.
August 2, 2018
ARSON FIRE SCORCHES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Fire sprinkler system holds flames in check until firefighters arrive
(SUQUAMISH, Wash.) – After someone apparently set a couch ablaze outside a local elementary school late last night, the building’s fire sprinkler and monitored fire alarm system summoned firefighters and kept the flames from causing serious damage.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were initially called to a fire alarm activation at the North Kitsap School District’s Suquamish Elementary School at 11:51 p.m. Wednesday. While en route, firefighters learned that a neighbor had called to report flames coming from the northwest corner of the structure and they upgraded the incident to a full commercial fire response. Firefighters from the district’s closest station in Suquamish were already on a medical call so the first unit on scene came from the Miller Bay Road headquarters, arriving in about 10 minutes. They found heavy smoke, water flowing from a sprinkler head and glowing embers in the remains of a discarded couch, but no flames. As soon as fire officials determined that the blaze hadn’t spread, additional resources from Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island Fire Departments were returned to their stations.
About 100 SF of the building’s exterior finish was blackened. School officials believe that the couch, which was destroyed in the incident, was dumped by unknown person(s) in or near the building’s dumpster.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene. He was unable to find an accidental ignition source for the blaze, and has determined that the fire was intentionally-set. Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call Deputy Fire Marshal Ken Rice at (360)337-5777.
There were no injuries to firefighters and no known injuries to civilians.
August 1, 2018
EXPLOSION, FIRE SINKS FISHING BOAT
Adult male burned in incident
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – A Tulalip man was injured and a boat was lost to an explosion and ensuing fire on the waters of Apple Tree Cove here early Wednesday morning in what is thought to have been an accident stemming from accumulated gasoline fumes in the vessel’s bilge.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were dispatched to the cove just after 2:30 a.m. when multiple 9-1-1 callers reported an explosion and flames aboard a boat at anchor. Units responded from the district’s South Kingston and Miller Bay Road stations with the first crews at the marina and getting NKF&R’s fire-rescue boat underway in just under eight minutes. Witnesses report that firefighters had the flames out within 30 minutes of the initial explosion.
Initially, crews didn’t know how many occupants had been aboard the boat at the time of the incident and they found no one in the boat or the surrounding waters. Shortly after beginning firefighting operations, officials learned that the vessel’s operator and only occupant had been rescued from the burning boat by his uncle whose own boat had been rafted to it. They sped into Port of Kingston Marina fuel dock to seek treatment for the burns sustained by the younger man in the incident. A paramedic crew met them and, unable to get an Airlift Northwest helicopter to fly due to unfavorable weather conditions, transported the injured man by ground ambulance to Bremerton’s Harrison Medical Center. The man’s injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
The 32 year-old man told crews that he and his uncle were fishing and had just anchored in the cove for the night when he smelled gasoline. The explosion occurred when he opened a hatch in an effort to find the source of the odor.
Ultimately, the severely-damaged 30 foot boat sank. It’s unknown if it was insured.
Firefighters have access to containment booms and other materials to provide first response to hazardous materials incidents on the waters of Puget Sound, thanks to a Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) equipment trailer prepositioned at the Port of Kingston. However, when volatile fuels like gasoline are involved, booms may actually increase the risk of secondary fire/explosion and DOE officials recommend allowing the material to evaporate instead. Furthermore, the vessel’s operator told crews that there had been less than 30 gallons of gasoline aboard prior to the fire. Firefighters, noting that much of the fuel was likely consumed in the blaze and finding no sheen on the water, turned the incident over to Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management, the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard.
There were no other injuries to firefighters or civilians.
July 11, 2018
NKF&R RECRUITING CANDIDATES FOR RENOWNED VOLUNTEER-INTERN FIREFIGHTER PROGRAM
Nearly 200 program alumni working for emergency services agencies in Washington state and beyond
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) is accepting applications to test for admission into its highly regarded volunteer-intern firefighter program through July 20.
The program provides training, education and certifications along with real-life experience as participants serve the
community alongside the district’s paid personnel, earning an edge over other aspirants in the highly-competitive fire service job market. Candidates must include a valid CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test, available in the region through at least two independent testing companies — Public Safety Testing and National Testing Network) card along with their application, and be available for written general knowledge testing on July 21. Those passing the written exam will be interviewed by a panel of veteran firefighters on July 22.
If selected to participate in the program, recruits will join one of the district’s three shifts in August to begin preparations for participation in an October – January firefighter academy. NKF&R crews work a 48-hour-on/96-hour-off schedule. During the academy, participants are on site four days and at least forty hours for each of the ten weeks that it’s in session.
NKF&R’s volunteer-intern firefighter program started in 1987. Since then, nearly 200 former members have gone on to emergency services careers. Program graduates are working in all of Kitsap County’s fire agencies as well as at Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Everett, Kirkland, Redmond, West Pierce, South Snohomish, South King, Puget Sound Fire Authority, Valley Regional Fire Authority, Port Ludlow, East Jefferson Fire Rescue, Port Angeles, Lacey, Pasco, Richland, Portland and beyond.
For more information, see the district’s web site at www.nkfr.org or call (360)297-3619.
July 7, 2018
KAYAK-LIKE BOAT OVERTURNS, DUMPING TWO INTO AGATE PASS
Life jackets, bystander’s help key in pair’s rescue
(SUQUAMISH, Wash.) – Two Bainbridge Island men were chilled but otherwise uninjured — thanks to life jackets and a bystander’s quick and effective actions — after a mishap landed them in cold water here last evening.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to the shores of Agate Pass off of Sandy Hook Road just before 7 p.m. on Friday after 9-1-1 callers reported two boaters in the twater about 100 yards offshore in choppy waters. The district’s fire-rescue boat, responding from its berth at the Port of Kingston Marina, was speeding toward the scene but wasn’t needed; a local resident, observing the incident from shore, launched his own dinghy and rowed out to help the men.
The boaters told crews that their outing on the water, which started in Bainbridge Island’s Manzanita Bay, took a negative turn when their kayak-like craft’s outrigger/stabilizer broke off in rough seas, causing the boat to flip and sending them into Agate Pass.
Even with several emergency response boats positioned around Puget Sound, officials say that bystander assistance and life jackets are the most critical factors for ensuring good outcomes in water rescues. Even strong swimmers are at risk of drowning as Puget Sound’s frigid waters impair muscle function in as little as 15 minutes. Yesterday’s incident exemplifies these points; with a rescue boat at least twenty minutes away, the boaters’ life jackets and the bystander’s actions made the difference.
The rescuer brought both men and the boat ashore which wasn’t an easy feat. Once all were safely ashore, an NKF&R paramedic and his crew spent a half-hour with the boaters, helping them to get warm again after the incident.
June 16, 2018
HEAT LAMP SPARKS FIRE
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – A heat lamp used to keep young chicks warm is likely to blame for a fire that damaged a rental home here this morning. Neither the birds nor the humans who live in the home were hurt in the incident which is thought to be the sixth of the year started this manner. Damage to the house was minimal so only the chickens were displaced; both the renters and the homeowners are insured.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), Poulsbo Fire Department and Bainbridge Island Fire Department crews were called to a Tuckerman Avenue residence at 10:18 a.m. on Saturday when an 11 year-old boy saw smoke outside and, upon investigation, discovered a growing fire on the wooden deck of the 2,600 SF split-level home. Although the deck faced the street in the densely-populated Kingston Hill neighborhood, a thick screen of trees likely blocked the flames from the view of passersby. The boy awoke his older sister and the pair alerted their step-father. The boy called 9-1-1 to get firefighters on their way while the adult effectively used a garden hose to squelch the fire. When the first unit arrived on scene about 8-1/2 minutes after dispatch, no fire was visible. All out of district resources were returned to their stations. Firefighters turned their attention toward
ensuring that the fire hadn’t spread further into the home’s structure, and removing smoke that had gotten inside after a glass door adjacent to the fire shattered during the man’s efforts to put out the blaze.
Smoke damage to the home was minor. Fire burned through about 10 SF of the wooden deck and singed the patio door frame as well as siding in the immediate area.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene. The family members told officials that the heat lamp had been affixed to chicken wire over a shavings-filled plastic bin. Seven month-old chicks were inside the makeshift brooder. The lamp had been turned on last evening. Based on evidence at the scene, the investigator believes that the lamp came loose from the wire somehow and fell into the shavings to start the fire. Surprisingly, the chicks escaped with just a few singed feathers.
Earlier this month, a Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy saved a Port Orchard family of seven from a fire that is thought to have been sparked by a heat lamp in use to keep chicks warm. Because these types of fires are increasingly common in the county, officials encourage chicken-keepers to use other means (hot water bottles, bringing the brood box into a warmer space, etc) to keep the young birds warm. If heat lamps must be used, officials recommend carefully following the manufacturer’s directions for securing the devices and ensuring clearance between the lamp(s) and combustible materials such as shavings or the boxes themselves.
June 5, 2018
ONE INJURED, THREE DISPLACED IN SUQUAMISH HOUSE FIRE
Cause remains undetermined
(SUQUAMISH, Wash.) – A visitor was injured and at least three adults were displaced in a structure fire near Suquamish that closed Columbia Street for over three hours this evening. Firefighters were able to save the estimated 4,800 square foot, two story and three unit building but the interior spaces were either destroyed or significantly affected by heat and smoke. No cause has yet been determined.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), Bainbridge Island Fire Department (BIFD) and Poulsbo Fire Department (PFD) crews were dispatched to the Columbia Street address at 5:26 p.m. after several 9-1-1 callers reported the structure ablaze. The first crew on the scene came from NKF&R’s nearby Suquamish fire station, arriving just over 5-1/2 minutes after dispatch. They reported heavy smoke with flames coming from the building’s lower story windows and spreading up to the upper story. With no fire hydrants in the immediate area, the first firefighters drew from the 750 gallons of water aboard their engine to knock down the flames from outside the building. A BIFD ambulance, staffed with firefighter/EMTs, was returning from the hospital and close by; they arrived to help shortly after the first crew. Water tenders, trucks carrying thousands of gallons of water to fires in areas not served by hydrants, provided as much as 5,000 additional gallons of water to fully squelch all hot spots. A total of 21 personnel from the three fire agencies responded, assisted by officers from Suquamish Police Department and an investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office.
According to the building’s occupants, there were two women in the lower level unit at the time of the fire. One was napping while the other was taking a shower. The second woman, a guest of the first woman, told the investigator that she came out of the shower to find signs of fire. She said she fled the building but returned several times in an effort to make sure the first woman safely escaped. The second woman was found outside with signs of smoke inhalation and taken by paramedics to the hospital for treatment. The first woman denied any injuries and declined treatment or transport. The occupants of the two apartments on the upper story were apparently not home at the time of the fire.
The lower story suffered the most severe fire damage in the living room area. Despite fiery destruction in the adjacent room, other lower story spaces with closed doors were somewhat protected. The upper story apartments were impacted by smoke as well as by firefighters’ efforts to chase down hot spots; the fire had traveled into the building’s eaves and voids under the roof before it was fully extinguished.
Neither the building’s owner nor the tenants are insured. The Suquamish Tribe is providing temporary lodging for at least two of the displaced occupants. The Red Cross will provide additional assistance upon the occupants’ request. The building has been secured and investigators will continue their efforts to determine a cause in the morning.
June 5, 2018
POORLY-EXTINGUISHED BONFIRE SPARKS BLAZE ON INDIANOLA BEACH
As summer fire season begins, officials urge the public to observe outdoor burning
rules and take precautions to prevent similar incidents
(INDIANOLA, Wash.) – A 100’ stretch of beach was scorched after an incompletely-snuffed bonfire apparently reignited Thursday morning and spread through driftwood along the shores of Port Madison between the communities of Indianola and Jefferson Beach.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were dispatched to Jefferson Beach at 5 a.m. on May 31 after a caller at Shilshole (Northwest Seattle) called to report smoke and flames visible in that neighborhood. After searching in the vicinity for thirty minutes, firefighters were unable to find any smoke or flames. There is no direct route between Jefferson Beach and the estuary to the west; the estuary and adjacent beaches are not visible from the western end of Jefferson Beach’s Marine View Drive. At about 6 a.m., another caller reported smoke in the Indianola area. With the help of law enforcement, crews were able to locate the smoke’s source coming from the remote location.
Firefighters spent nearly three hours at the scene, and used about 6,000 gallons of water – supplied by a tender truck – to fully extinguish the embers in a smoldering 20’ x 100’ area. Several more tenacious hot spots involving larger logs were snuffed when firefighters cut the timbers into manageable pieces that could be immersed in the waters of Puget Sound. Remnants of a bonfire were found near the center of the burned area. No structures were threatened by the fire.
Beach fires such as this one are not uncommon, increasing in frequency as people take to the region’s many shores with the onset of warmer weather. Already, the state has experienced its first large wildfire of the season; the Les Blair Fire in Benton County had scorched more than 250 acres as of yesterday. Officials urge the public to learn the outdoor burning rules for the area and to check whether a burn ban is in effect. The property owner’s permission is required; outdoor fires are prohibited in many public spaces such as on the Port of Kingston’s beaches and in Kitsap County Parks. Thursday’s beach fire took place on lands owned by the Suquamish Tribe. To fully extinguish a beach fire, douse thoroughly with water.
May 20, 2018
COUPLE DISPLACED AFTER BARN FIRE SPREADS TO TRAILER
Evidence shows fire started in workshop but exact cause undetermined
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – A couple and their dog safely escaped flames that destroyed an adjacent historic barn and spread to consume their trailer-home near here Friday evening, but the pair lost nearly all of their possessions.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department crews were dispatched to a home near the intersection of Rash Road and Nature Way at about 9:47 p.m. where it was reported that a barn was fully involved in flames. The caller also indicated that a fifth-wheel trailer was within three feet of the fire building. Knowing that the closest fire hydrant was almost two miles away, crews
made sure that water tender trucks – each carrying between 2,500 – 3,500 gallons – from NKF&R and Bainbridge Island Fire Department were on their way, too.
The first unit to arrive on scene, less than eight minutes after dispatch, was an engine from NKF&R’s Miller Bay Road headquarters fire station. They reported that the barn, situated about 50 feet behind the property’s main residence, was fully involved in flames which had already spread to the trailer. The trailer’s occupants were confirmed to have safely exited. Despite limited water supplies until the arrival of the tender trucks, firefighters were able to knock down the flames within about twenty minutes of their arrival on scene. Complete extinguishment took several more hours as crews had to remove the barn’s collapsed metal roof and other materials to expose all remaining hot spots.
Investigators from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene. They learned that the barn, estimated to be over 100 years old and constructed entirely of wood, was moved to its present site from Minder Road. The fire appears to have started in a portion of the structure that was used as a workshop. One of the trailer’s occupants told officials that some welding had been done in the workshop earlier in the evening. Although sparks falling onto the workshop’s wooden floors are a possible cause, due to the level of fire damage, investigators could not rule out other accidental causes such as electrical issues.
The property is owned by the displaced couple’s relatives. Although the barn was covered under the property owner’s insurance, the trailer and its contents were not. Volunteers from the American Red Cross came to the scene and are working to assist the couple who’ll be staying with family.
There no animals in the barn at the time of the fire and no injuries to firefighters or civilians. The property’s main residence was not affected.
April 23, 2018
NKF&R TO HOST PREVENTION-ORIENTED PUBLIC MEETING FOLLOWING LARGE BLAZE
Family’s beach home lost to flames, thought to have been sparked when oily rags caught fire
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — In the wake of a fire that destroyed a Washington Boulevard home on March 30 (see below for more information about the incident), officials from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office (KCFMO) are hoping to prevent future blazes by sharing information about the incident that will help others avoid similar losses.
Monday, April 30 at 7 p.m.
Village Green Community Center
26159 Dulay Road NE in Kingston
Delayed detection, difficult access and limited water supply all contributed to the fiery destruction of the Kingston waterfront home on a Friday evening. No one was home at the time of the incident, and the blaze wasn’t reported until flames were visible by neighbors. Despite challenges presented by the narrow roadway and lack of fire hydrants, firefighters were able to keep the large fire from spreading to adjacent structures.
Investigators believe that the blaze likely started on the exterior of the structure on a covered porch at the house’s north side. Evidence at the scene and interviews with witnesses suggest that the fire may have started when rags, used during wood staining earlier in the day and thrown into a plastic trash bag on the porch, caught fire in the evening. The not-uncommon process is called spontaneous heating. In the March 30 fire, it appears that circumstances were right for the process to spark the destructive fire.
At the meeting, fire officers will provide a brief overview of the incident’s operations and investigators will discuss the fire’s cause. A prevention specialist will share strategies for avoiding fire tragedies.
For more information, contact NKF&R at (360)297-3619.
April 3, 2018
FRIDAY NIGHT FIRE LIKELY STARTED ON AN EXTERIOR PORCH
Evidence points to spontaneous combustion of oily rags as possible cause for blaze
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – Investigators from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office have completed their work at the scene of a March 30 fire that destroyed a family’s Washington Boulevard waterfront home, and determined that the blaze likely started on the exterior of the structure on a covered porch at the house’s north side. Renovations were underway at the nearly 80 year-old house and, in the area of the fire’s origin, investigators found multiple potential causes related to the on-going construction. Evidence at the scene and interviews with witnesses suggest that the fire may have started when rags, used during wood staining earlier in the day and thrown into a plastic trash bag on the porch, caught fire in the evening when a not-uncommon process called spontaneous heating of the oily rags led to combustion.
Spontaneous heating, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), occurs when materials exposed to air release heat as they oxidize. Spontaneous combustion results when the resulting heat can’t dissipate due to insulating factors around the material. Materials prone to the process include hay, other agricultural products such as wood chips or compost, and oily rags. According to a 2011 report by the (NFPA), about 14,000 fires per year are sparked in this manner. Locally, spontaneous combustion was to blame for a large January 2018 wood chip fire off of Ecology Road near Kingston. A new house in Indianola was destroyed before its builders could even move in when rags, left from staining the home’s wood floors, caught fire in April 2012. Cedar Farm, a Suquamish wood siding company, burned to the ground in 2004 after oily rags sparked a blaze there.
Fire officials recommend disposing of oily rags in a metal container filled with water and capped with a tight-fitting lid. For further information about the fire, see previous press releases below.
March 31, 2018 * 2:30 p.m.
BLAZE DESTROYS BEACH HOME – UPDATE
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – After grabbing a couple of hours rest during Saturday’s early hours, firefighters were back on the scene to finish squelching hot spots in the remains of a Washington Boulevard home that caught fire last evening. Although fire investigators worked through the night and into this morning, no cause has yet been determined in the incident that completely consumed the 2,200 SF two-story beach house, originally built in 1939.
Officials believe that wind in addition to the home’s highly-combustible cedar shake siding and limited interior sheetrock may have contributed to the blaze’s rapid growth. It wasn’t reported until the flames were visible from the waterfront structure, tucked in below a hillside and somewhat hidden from the view of nearby houses.
[Firefighters faced significant challenges from access to the home as well as water supply, and the house is a total loss. However, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) officials are grateful that no one was in the house when the fire began. Though the man and his wife who owned the property used the place as their vacation home, the woman’s brother had been living there most of the time. Officials also note that firefighters succeeded in preventing the fierce blaze from spreading to adjacent homes – a task that would have been even more difficult had the fire occurred during the dry season. Then, it’s possible that the flames would have spread up the embankment through parched vegetation to threaten multiple additional structures. Furthermore, no one was hurt in the effort despite steep terrain and the hundreds of feet of stairs and ramps that had to be traversed to reach the home.
The couple is insured and the displaced man has declined any assistance from the Red Cross. See the original press release on the incident, below.
March 31, 2018 * 3:30 a.m.
BLAZE DESTROYS BEACH HOME
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – Delayed detection, difficult access and limited water supply all contributed to the fiery destruction of a waterfront cabin here on Friday evening. Firefighters are remained on scene until 3 a.m. as they worked to extinguish hot spots; investigators are remaining at the site but, as of this hour, a cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.
The first report of the fire came from a neighbor who called 9-1-1 to say that the whole house was on fire. A second caller said that fire was coming from all parts of the house. North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), Poulsbo Fire Department and Bainbridge Island Fire Department crews were called to a residential structure fire at the Washington Boulevard home just before 8 p.m. Washington Boulevard is a single-lane road serving tens of homes perched over the shores of Puget Sound, just north of Kingston. The first crew arrived on scene at 8:09 p.m. and reported that the home was fully involved in fire with flames reaching as high as 80 feet. The cabin, said to have been built in the 1930s, sat about 50 feet below Washington Boulevard and couldn’t be reached by vehicle; a series of switchbacked stairs and ramps provided the only land access. Firefighters
attempted to use NKF&R’s fire-rescue boat to battle the blaze, but they couldn’t get close enough due to the low tide. Crews’ efforts to squelch the flames were further hampered by water supply problems. With no nearby fire hydrants, tender trucks supplied water for the fire fight but these large vehicles had difficulty maneuvering on the narrow roadway.
The owner, who was not at the cabin at the time of the fire, told crews that there were no people or pets inside the structure. According to neighbors, the house does not serve as a full-time residence but is a weekend or vacation home. It is unknown if the owner is insured. Investigators with the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office are working to determine the fire’s cause.
There have been no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
March 22, 2018
NKF&R TO HOST PREVENTION-ORIENTED PUBLIC MEETINGS FOLLOWING STRING OF HOUSE FIRES
Presentations sparked by three unrelated house fires over just four days earlier this month
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — In the wake of a string of house fires that struck here during the first week of March (see below for more information about the fires), officials from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office (KCFMO) are hoping to prevent future blazes by sharing information about the incidents that will help others avoid similar losses. Two separate meetings – one for each of the larger fires – are set, and recognition is being planned for a police officer whose actions kept the third fire contained:
Marine View Drive Fire
Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m.
Jefferson Beach Estates Clubhouse
Marine View Drive near Jefferson Beach Road
Sandy Beach Lane Fire
Thursday, March 29 at 7 p.m.
Village Green Community Center
26159 Dulay Rd NE
At each meeting, fire officers will provide a brief overview of the incident’s operations and investigators will discuss the fire’s cause. A prevention specialist will share strategies for avoiding fire tragedies.
NKF&R responds to an average of 15 – 20 house fires per year and, though it’s increasingly common for the district to be responding to multiple medical calls at once, this is only the second time that the district has had simultaneous major events. The first incidence was on the morning of April 8, 2012 when unrelated fires struck two structures in Indianola.
For more information about the meetings, contact NKF&R at (360)297-3619.
Marine View Drive fire on March 1
The Marine View Drive fire, thought to have been sparked by an electrical problem in a clothes dryer, was reported just after 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 1. Crews from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department (PFD) responded. The homeowner (an elderly widow) and her caregiver were inside when the home’s smoke alarms activated and smoke was visible. While investigating the source, the caregiver found sparks and flames between the washer and the dryer. The latter was in use at the time. The caregiver called 9-1-1 to report a dryer fire, and opened the home’s doors and windows to clear the accumulating smoke from the structure before safely evacuating with the homeowner and her dog. The first crew arrived in just under ten minutes, responding from NKF&R”s South Kingston Road station. They reported the 1,405 SF single-story home to be fully-involved in flames. As firefighters sped to the rather remote location from across North Kitsap, the crews on scene worked to secure water supply from a nearby hydrant. The flames were so powerful that the officer who first arrived could not complete his 360-degree survey of the structure. With the home where the fire started already seriously damaged and the occupants safe, crews focused their attention on preventing the flames from spreading to an adjacent structure. They were successful at containing the blaze. Complete extinguishment of the fire proved far more difficult. The fierce flames emitted so much heat that portions of the structure collapsed early in the battle, burying hot spots beneath several layers of heavy building materials. The homeowner’s husband had been a history buff; a large volume of artifacts were stored inside the house’s attic, adding considerable fuel to the fire. Firefighters remained on scene into the evening in the effort to uncover and fully snuff any remaining fire. Though the homeowner is insured, the home and its contents – many irreplaceable – were total losses. She is now staying with her daughter. Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office (KCFMO) investigators responded to the scene to determine the fire’s cause. Based on evidence at the scene and information provided by the occupants, investigators believe that an electrical problem in the older dryer sparked the blaze. Open doors and windows likely fanned the flames while the combustible items stored in the overhead provided fuel. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
Ironwood Lane fire on March 1
Just twenty minutes into the incident on Marine View Drive, another house fire was dispatched at 12:56 p.m. in Little Boston on the Port Gamble S’Klallam Reservation. All NKF&R units were already engaged in fighting the tough fire on Marine View Drive. The district’s operations chief left the Jefferson Beach incident to join the PFD crews dispatched to the second fire on Ironwood Lane. NKF&R’s medical/safety officer had been in a meeting in Poulsbo when the second fire was dispatched. He was the first firefighter on scene, arriving about 15 minutes after dispatch. Knowing that the only available resources were coming from a long distance and although he observed only light smoke coming from the small rental home, he requested the additional units of a second alarm in case the incident required more than those coming with the first alarm. Bainbridge Island Fire Department, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, Navy Region Northwest Fire Department and Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue units were added. Firefighters from PFD arrived shortly thereafter, made entry to the structure, quickly snuffed a small smoldering fire on the couch and found no one inside. The additional resources were returned to their stations. Another KCFMO investigator responded to the scene. Apparently, an employee of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe had noticed signs of a possible fire inside such as melting window blinds and darkened window glass. He called 9-1-1 to report the possible fire and headed to his nearby office for a key to the home. When he returned and opened the door, he found a the house filled with smoke and a small fire on the couch. He quickly exited the building. A Port Gamble S’Klallam Police officer arrived and closed the door. Firefighters say that the officer’s actions were especially vital given the simultaneous incidents and resulting extended response times; his closing of the door was likely key to containing the fire by starving it of air it needed to grow. Fire officials plan to thank the officer in front of an upcoming Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Council meeting. Evidence suggests that a propane torch, used to ignite fires in the home’s woodstove, may have been left operating in close proximity to the couch. Damage was limited to the couch and light smoke affected most of the home. The occupant’s dog, crated in the home’s attached garage, was not harmed by the fire. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
Sandy Beach Lane fire on March 4
Late on the evening of March 4, NKF&R firefighters were called to investigate an unknown fire. Just after 10:30 p.m., a 9-1-1 caller reported flames from an unknown source on the higher ground above his Apple Tree Point location. As crews headed to the general location, they received word that sheriff’s deputies were investigating a burglar alarm at an address on the uphill side of Sandy Beach Lane. Upon the deputies’ arrival at the locations of the burglar alarm, they reported the home to be fully involved in fire. The response was upgraded to that of a residential structure fire, bringing additional units from NKF&R as well as from PFD. Sandy Beach Lane, serving over twenty homes, curves along the side of a bluff and is challenging to negotiate. There aren’t turnarounds adequate for fire engines or tanker trucks. Furthermore, the home’s driveway was steep and narrow. The first firefighters to arrive found that fire engines could not negotiate it, so incoming units were directed to park at the end of Lindvog Road. Crews were ferried in by smaller vehicles, and without their engines, firefighters were forced to carry hose by hand up the final 4 – 500’ long access. There were no fire hydrants in the area. Water for the fire-fight had to be supplied by large water tender trucks and pumped up the hill. Officials made contact with the property owner, vacationing on the East Coast, and determined that there were no occupants inside at the time of the fire. Although the blaze was under control within 25 minutes of firefighters’ arrival, the flames had undermined the two-story 3,200 SF home so severely that crews couldn’t safely work in the house until daylight. Crews worked into the next day to reach all remaining hot spots. Investigators from KCFMO responded to the scene. Physical evidence and interviews suggest that the fire began in the wall of a main floor bedroom, appearing to have started in the vicinity of electrical wiring. The home was a total loss; the homeowners are insured. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians. Officials say that, given the home’s isolated location and difficult access, residential fire sprinklers and/or a monitored fire alarm system would likely have prevented this loss from reaching catastrophic proportions.
February 23, 2018
MAN AIRLIFTED AFTER ONE-CAR CRASH
Icy conditions appear to be a factor in the incident
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – A 58 year-old Kingston man was airlifted to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center with serious but not immediately life-threatening injuries after apparently losing control of his mid-size SUV to tumble into a tree-laden and deep ravine here yesterday afternoon.
Across the areas served by North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), snow and ice had been causing multiple minor crashes since snow began to accumulate on road surfaces Wednesday evening. So far, Thursday’s incident has been the only serious injury collision in NKF&R’s service area during this set of late winter storms.
NKF&R crews were called to Jefferson Point Road near its intersection with Strawberry Lane at about 2:15 p.m. on Thursday after the vehicle’s occupant used his cellular phone following the incident to call 9-1-1 for help. The first firefighters to arrive at the scene had brief difficulties locating the vehicle, laying on its side about 40 feet below the roadbed. Once they reached him, the crew found that the man was conscious and alert. After stabilizing the car, firefighters were able to remove the man from the vehicle without the use of special tools. Once loaded into the waiting ambulance, the man was taken to meet an Airlift Northwest helicopter landing on the fields at David Wolfle Elementary School.
The man told crews that he’d been driving on Jefferson Point Road toward South Kingston Road. When he reached a portion of the road that had been shaded from the sun all day, his vehicle began to fishtail on the unmelted ice and over the northeast side of the road and into the ravine. The vehicle traveled into the ravine’s bottom and began to go up the opposite slope before sliding back to come to rest on its side against a large cedar tree.
Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) deputies also responded to the scene. Jefferson Point Road was closed to traffic while firefighters worked and as KCSO personnel investigated the cause of the incident. Officials encourage the public to remain attentive to the special concerns of driving in snow and ice to avoid weather-related collisions. For tips on safe winter driving, see this page from AAA.
There were no other injuries to firefighters or civilians in Thursday’s incident.
February 20, 2018
FIREFIGHTERS, POLICE AND ANOTHER DOG PARTNER TO RESCUE WAYWARD POOCH
Older shepherd mix missing for weeks until a white shepherd named Dillon spotted her over an embankment
(SUQUAMISH, Wash.) – Emily, a ten year-old mix, had been missing since January 28 when she and her “housemate,” Coal, had slipped out of a gate left ajar at their downtown Suquamish home. Coal came back alone a couple of days later and, despite her family’s extensive efforts to locate her in the ensuing two weeks, Emily remained lost until one morning last week.
On February 16, Dillon’s family had just returned from time away when the young shepherd noticed something beyond the edge of the waterfront home’s yard. He got the attention of his family who, upon investigation, found Emily about eight feet down the embankment on a ledge about 25 – 30 SF in size. After what may have been almost three weeks of entrapment, the dog was understandably scared and growling when people tried to approach. The family called Suquamish Police Department for help. Officer Jason Olsen responded. Although Emily’s family had been searching for her since she failed to return home, they hadn’t thought to contact police until that very morning. Officer Olsen quickly recognized that the trapped canine was the same dog that had been reported missing earlier in the day. He contacted Emily’s family, inviting them to the scene to identify their dog. He then asked for firefighters to be dispatched to assist in the dog’s rescue.
A crew from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s Suquamish fire station was just a couple of blocks away. Often, firefighters aren’t able to assist with animal rescues if doing so jeopardizes their readiness for response to more urgent emergencies or is otherwise too dangerous to attempt. This morning, however, crews determined that the dog could be retrieved quickly and safely. As soon as Emily heard the familiar voices of her family, her growling stopped and a firefighter was able to easily carry the dog up a short ladder to reunite her with her loved ones, a couple.
The couple took Emily to a veterinary clinic where she received intravenous fluids, high-calorie food and an exam. Though the vets pronounced her in good health, Emily’s weight had dropped from about 120 pounds to about 85 pounds during her ordeal. At last report, she’s been recovering from her adventure by resting comfortably at home with her family, eating and drinking as much as possible.
February 19, 2018
HOUSE FIRE, LIKELY STORM-RELATED, THWARTED
Early 9-1-1 call, fire extinguisher limit damage from flames; officials warn about extension cords, power strips
(INDIANOLA, Wash.) – A home escaped significant damage after a multiplug adapter, its power being supplied by the house’s generator while electricity was out across the area, appeared to have failed and sparked a dangerous fire here late Sunday afternoon.
Crews from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), Poulsbo Fire Department, Bainbridge Island Fire Department and Puget Sound Federal Fire Department were dispatched to the South Kingston Road address just before 4:30 p.m. in the midst of a winter windstorm that had been keeping responders unusually busy throughout the afternoon. The first crew to arrive on the scene was there within 8 minutes of dispatch, and reported smoke coming from the structure. As additional units arrived, it became apparent that the fire could be easily controlled and crews from outside NKF&R’s district were returned to their stations.
The home’s occupants – a couple – told crews that they’d noticed fluctuations in the house’s power supply after switching to the generator. Then, they smelled smoke coming from the second floor’s computer room and, upon investigation, discovered flames coming from underneath a desk. The smoke alarms activated. While one of the occupants called 9-1-1, the other attempted to squelch the fire with extinguishers. Firefighters credit some of the homeowners’ actions – getting firefighters on the way with an early 9-1-1 call, and safely using a fire extinguisher – with keeping the fire from growing to involve more of the 2,000 SF two-story house. Firefighters cut into the surrounding wall to ensure that the fire wasn’t spreading through hidden spaces, and used large fans to remove residual smoke from the structure. Damage was limited to the fire room and the computer equipment within. Firefighters say that, had no one been home to detect the incipient fire, the loss would have been much greater.
Details about the multiplug adapter involved in Sunday’s fire are unknown because it was destroyed in the blaze. However, officials always recommend that the public use only high-quality power strips that are tested and rated by an independent testing laboratory. Misused extension cords (serving as substitutes for permanent wiring or subjected to mechanical damage while running through doors, windows or under carpets where they also can become over-insulated) and poor quality multiplug adapters are common fire causes — especially when exposed to power fluctuations.
In the 24-hour period from 8 a.m. Sunday until 8 .m. Monday, NKF&R crews responded to 21 incidents (mostly storm-related events such as wires down on roadways) in the last twelve hours — that’s almost three times the average call volume for 24 hours on a typical day.
The incidence of house fires rises during power outages, often due to increased use of alternative heating and lighting sources. Firefighters urge the public to exercise extra caution during these events.
The couple, who is insured, was not displaced by the incident. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
Feburary 1, 2018
MEDIA ADVISORY: BABY BORN IN AMBULANCE RETURNS TO FIRE STATION FOR FIRST BIRTHDAY
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — Late in the evening following the 2017 Super Bowl, Lakeisha Rogers went into labor with her third child. As the intervals between contractions got smaller, family members called an ambulance. They were hoping that the ambulance crew could get the expectant mom from her Little Boston home to Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale before she delivered. Heavy snow was falling and as much as three inches had accumulated on the roadway, making for very slow going. Little Eleanor didn’t want to wait and, at 12:35 a.m. just before the intersection of SR 307 and SR 305, she was born. Eleanor and her family are returning to the fire station on February 6, 2018 to celebrate her first birthday with the crew that helped safely deliver her.
January 15, 2018
FIRE AT COMPOSTING PLANT FILLS SUNDAY SKIES WITH SMOKE IN N. KITSAP
Cause thought to be accidental
(HANSVILLE, Wash.) — Fire equipment and personnel from three districts converged on a composting plant when a second alarm brush fire was called to battle a smoky fire involving about a third of a 50,000 cubic foot pile of stumps and other natural vegetation debris here Sunday morning. Though the blaze was easily contained, the operation required hours of work from firefighters and heavy equipment operators as well as thousands of gallons of water to knock down the flames. The fire’s cause is thought to have been accidental, the result of heat naturally generated as the large pile of organic debris decomposes.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called about 9:30 a.m. on Sunday to investigate a report of flames and smoke in the vicinity of the Hansville transfer station at Hansville and Ecology Roads. The first unit arrived on scene to find a portion of a large pile ablaze at the Olympic Organics plant and its officer called for the additional resources of a second alarm, which added more firefighters and equipment from Poulsbo Fire Department and Bainbridge Island Fire Department as well as from NKF&R.
Managers from Olympic Organics responded to assist firefighters as did personnel from neighboring Logan Construction. Firefighters applied over 13,000 gallons of water to the smoldering stumps as heavy equipment operators pulled apart the pile to give crews access to hot spots, and to separate the burning materials from the unburned. It is likely that there will continue to be some smoke in the area while remaining material in the 50′ x 50′ fire area continues to smolder.
Fires resulting from spontaneous combustion are not uncommon, breaking out when conditions — outside air temperature, moisture, air flow and insulation — are right.
Crews cleared the scene just after 3 p.m., and the property owners were required to post a watch to ensure the remaining fire didn’t start to spread again. Firefighters will continue to check on the site from time to time.
There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians, and no damage to structures or equipment.
January 2, 2018
WOMAN RESCUED FROM FOULWEATHER BLUFF
(HANSVILLE, Wash.) – A 33 year-old woman, here from the United Kingdom to visit relatives and unfamiliar with the area, is cold but safe following her rescue from a steep and muddy hillside below Foulweather Bluff on the northern-most tip of the Kitsap Peninsula. While on a run along the beach this morning, she attempted the climb to escape rising waters and became stuck when terrain prevented her from going further in either direction.
Crews from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), Bainbridge Island Fire Department (BIFD) and Poulsbo Fire Department (PFD) were called to a possible rescue at an unknown location on the end of the peninsula at 10:32 a.m. on Tuesday. The trapped woman had used her cell phone to contact family members who, in turn, called 9-1-1. It took over 15 minutes to find the woman. Firefighters, from a vantage point at a private residence atop an estimated 300’ cliff, located the woman on a flat spot about one-third of the distance to the beach below. With no safe rescue route apparent from above, officials called for additional resources including the county’s technical rescue team and NKF&R’s fire-rescue boat. The technical rescue team, an effort between several of the county’s fire agencies, has personnel with the specialized training and equipment to safely perform high-angle rescues. Today’s tech rescue response included personnel from Puget Sound Federal Fire Department and Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue. Several team members from BIFD were on the initial response with NKF&R and prepared equipment while awaiting the additional resources. The fire-rescue boat, responding from its berth at the Port of Kingston Marina, arrived on scene shortly after noon and before the tech rescue team; one of the firefighters from aboard the boat was able to scale the slippery slope to reach the woman and carefully assist her back to the vessel. Once aboard the boat, the woman was taken to nearby Driftwood Key Marina where she was met by paramedics. Although cold from the incident in today’s wind-chilled temperatures, the woman was otherwise uninjured and declined ambulance transport.
Until she was aboard the fire-rescue boat, it wasn’t clear that technical rescue teams wouldn’t be necessary. As soon as firefighters were sure she was safe, the additional resources were returned to their stations.
Officials recommend that hikers and runners equip themselves with information about local tides and terrain before setting out in unfamiliar territory.
December 20, 2017
TWELVE GRADUATE VOLUNTEER-INTERN/RESIDENT FIREFIGHTER ACADEMY
Candidates are a step closer to achieving their dream of fire service careers
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – Twelve volunteers from two area fire departments marked the conclusion of an intensive 15-week firefighter academy in graduation ceremonies here on Saturday. The event included awards recognizing achievements and a live demonstration of the participants’ firefighting skills. It also marked the accomplishment of an important step in the volunteers’ quest for paid positions in the fire service.
Participants included volunteers from the host agency, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), as well as from East Jefferson Fire – Rescue (EJFR). Eighteen started the program in September but attrition reduced the number to a dozen by last weekend’s graduation. According to NKF&R Assistant Chief and Academy Drillmaster Sean Moran, several candidates left due to existing injuries aggravated by the rigors of firefighter training. Several others found the training to be too difficult physically and/or academically. One left because he’d achieved the goal of the volunteer program – an offer of employment from a fire department.
During the academy, students combined classroom lectures and reading with practical exercises to meet the standards required to test for Firefighter I certification. Three graduates of the districts’ volunteer-intern/resident programs, now working as paid firefighters — NKF&R Lieutenants Mark Cooney and Michael Mock, and EJFR Firefighter Curtis Sanders – served as instructors. All students passed both practical and written certification exams. The graduates are:
Austin C. Bach, 19, of Mountlake Terrace
James M. Dilger, 18, of Bothell
Brooks P. Ellingsen, 21, of Poulsbo
Aidan M. Fleming, 19, of Tacoma
Nathan M. LaPlante, 35, of Indianola (previously of Cut Bank, MT)
Hayden J. Smallbeck, 20, of Kingston
Colin R. Stone, 23, of Kingston
Tanner E. Stracener, 20, of Poulsbo
Andrew J. Dalrymple, 44, of Chimacum
Robert M. Grimm, 39, of Port Townsend
Jacob P. Kinney, 19, of Chimacum
Patrick M. Williams, 29, of Port Townsend
Completion of the firefighter academy is one of several important steps in both districts’ career-oriented training programs for volunteers. These programs offer participants the opportunity to acquire qualifications to better compete for paid fire service jobs, while providing the community with additional response personnel to augment the districts’ permanent staffing. Starting at the first of the year, the graduates will add to their resumes with real-life experience while serving as volunteers on shift alongside the districts’ paid personnel. They’ll receive additional training in emergency medicine, hazardous materials, fire pump/engine operations, public fire/injury prevention, marine firefighting/rescue and more. NKF&R’s volunteer-intern program has been in place for thirty years; nearly 200 past members have used it as a launching pad to emergency services careers in Washington state and beyond.
Several graduates were honored with awards during Saturday’s ceremonies. EJFR’s Dalrymple was recognized as the class’s valedictorian for achieving the highest academic scores during the academy. NKF&R’s Stone was selected by his peers as the academy’s most inspirational member, providing his fellow students with support and encouragement throughout. Dalrymple and Stone, along with EJFR’s Kinney, were named “Bulldogs” during the course of the academy. Instructors designate students as Bulldogs when the recipients demonstrate a special degree of tenacity, leadership, commitment to teamwork and ability to overcome adversity. Dalrymple, EJFR’s Grimm, NKF&R’s Stracener and NKF&R’s Ellingsen were named to the Chief’s Company. Selected by the drillmaster, recipients’ individual skills, attitude and team spirit earned them a spot on this academy’s ideal truck or engine company.
To learn more about the districts’ volunteer intern/resident firefighter programs, see the agencies’ web sites: http://www.nkfr.org/about-us/people/ and http://www.ejfr.org/about/humans/opportunities.php. http://www.ejfr.org/about/humans/opportunities.php
December 12, 2017
NEW YEAR BRINGS NEW COMMISSIONER TO NORTH-END FIRE AGENCY
Veteran NKF&R fire commissioner retires after decades of public service; successor with public service background elected to the open seat
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – After 45 years in the fire service, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) Fire Commissioner Fernando “Espy” Espinosa is handing off his helmet to John Huntington, a former Washington State Patrol detective elected to the open seat last fall. The retiring commissioner and his successor are both military veterans with deep experience in emergency response; both men share a clear commitment to public service as well.
“Country and community.” When asked why he’s volunteered with the fire department for so long, that’s what Fernando “Espy” Espinosa – a man who prefers actions over words — says. During his decades of service, Espinosa has helped ensure that emergency services have evolved to meet the needs of the growing community. The Vietnam veteran is a native of Kansas but spent most of his youth in Detroit, Michigan. He came to the area in 1969 with his wife, Rita, and family after leaving the U.S. Navy. Espinosa moved to Suquamish in 1972 to take a civilian job at NUWC Keyport and, shortly thereafter, volunteered with Kitsap County Fire District #4 (KCFD #4 – Suquamish) at the urging of the district’s Chief Leroy Todd. Before joining the district’s Board of Fire Commissioners in 1987, Espinosa served as a firefighter and even had a stint as fire chief. He was instrumental in the merger of KCFD #4 into the then-KCFD #10 (Kingston) following the voters’ 1993 approval of the proposal. The combined district changed its name to North Kitsap Fire & Rescue.
Much more has changed during Espinosa’s decades of service. At the time that he joined the department, it was all-volunteer. Firefighters responded to less than 20 calls a year. Suquamish Ambulance handled the medical calls which totaled less than 70 a year. Today, NKF&R responds to more than 3,000 medical and fire calls a year with a combination of paid and volunteer personnel. There was no 9-1-1 service in the beginning; it wasn’t established in Suquamish until 1977; before then, emergencies were reported to a seven-digit phone number and firefighters were summoned to the station by a siren. Today, Kitsap 9-1-1 receives emergency calls countywide and quickly dispatches the necessary resources via radio. During Espinosa’s time as a firefighter, major capital projects (such as the addition of apparatus bays to the Suquamish fire station and the purchase of a new ambulance) could be funded by rummage sales and pancake breakfasts. Today, such events can’t possibly raise enough to meet the $150,000 -200,000 price tag for just one new ambulance. For nearly 50 years, volunteers provided response to the citizens of KCFD #4. However, Espinosa and others saw that the area was expanding past the capabilities of the dedicated but dwindling volunteer corps. As part of the merger agreement, the Suquamish fire station was remodeled and, in 1996, full-time staffing began at the station. Emergency response times improved dramatically. Says Espinosa, “I could finally sleep well at night, knowing that there would always be well-trained firefighters assigned to the station, ready to respond. I knew that the community would be getting the service it needed.”
Espinosa retired from civil service at Keyport after 30 years in 2005 and lost his beloved Rita in 2011. He is a proud member of the Suquamish Warriors, a group of local veterans and supporters that provide honors and assistance to fellow former soldiers and sailors. After decades of service on the local and the federal levels, the 80 year-old is taking some time to follow one of his personal dreams: prospecting. Early next year, Espinosa will head to Alaska with his step-son where the pair will hunt, camp and pan for gold. Says NKF&R Fire Chief Dan Smith, “We hope they hit the motherlode. But, even if they do, it couldn’t measure up to the value of all that Espy has given — to country and community.”
John Huntington was elected in November to fill the seat on the NKF&R Board of Fire Commissioners that Espinosa had
occupied for 30 years. To the position, Huntington brings a deep knowledge of emergency services, investigations and adult training/education as well as a demonstrated commitment to public service. A retired Washington State Patrol detective currently investigating environmental crimes for the Washington State Attorney General’s office, the 56 year-old Huntington is a Seattle native and well-known in the Kingston community. He is a veteran of both the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard. Huntington and his wife, Susan (a kindergarten teacher at David Wolfle Elementary School), have lived here since early in their 33-year marriage; they raised three girls: Sarah, 30, a forensic anthropologist; Melinda, 28, a nurse; and, Jessica, 25, a lieutenant junior-grade in the U.S. Navy. Huntington has an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor’s Degree in Workforce Training and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership.
Not only does Huntington know emergency services from decades of serving alongside firefighters at car crashes and other incidents, he’s given us permission to tell you that he’s come to know us as a customer, too. He has been treated and transported by NKF&R crews twice – once, when he experienced a near-fatal heart attack in 2013 and more recently, when he suffered broken ribs in a fall.
Asked why he wanted to join NKF&R’s governing body, Huntington says that he’d always planned to serve the district once he’d retired. When he learned that Espinosa was stepping down, an opportunity presented itself sooner than he’d expected. “I want to give back,” he says. “To the district that supported me as a trooper and a detective, to the firefighters that saved my life and to the community that’s been my home for over thirty years.”
Interestingly, not only do Espinosa and Huntington share a strong service ethic, they also share a birthday. Both were born on July 11.
NKF&R’s Board of Fire Commissioners is composed of five positions. Members of the Board, acting as representatives of the public to oversee management of the fire district, are elected at-large to staggered six-year terms. Meetings are held at the district’s headquarters fire station (26642 Miller Bay Road NE near Kingston) on the second and fourth Mondays of the month, beginning at 7 p.m.
NKF&R will honor Espinosa and his service at a casual reception, open to the public, on Wednesday, January 3 at 4 p.m. Huntington will be sworn in to his new position at the district’s regular Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, December 26 at 7:15 p.m. in the district’s headquarters fire station (26642 Miller Bay Road NE near Kingston). All meetings are open to the public.
November 2, 2017
FIRE DAMAGES HANSVILLE HOME
Woman and dog barely escape flames
(HANSVILLE, Wash.) – One woman was transported to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton as a precaution after she may have suffered some smoke inhalation while escaping a fire in her Point No Point Road home here this afternoon. Both the woman and her tenant, who was away at the time of the blaze, have been displaced by the incident which appears to have started in or near electrical wiring in the ceiling of a ground floor room.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department crews were called to the 1,900 SF, two-story house at 2:11 p.m. on Thursday after multiple 9-1-1 callers reported the fire. The first crew on the scene from the district’s Hansville station arrived within about 6 minutes of dispatch. They found the woman and her dog safely outside with smoke pouring from both levels of the structure. With water supply secured by a fire hydrant directly across the street, firefighters were able to stop the flames from causing additional damage. About one-half of the home’s first floor (a bedroom and a combination bathroom/laundry room) and contents suffered serious fire damage while another bedroom and the garage, also on the first floor, appear to have been protected by closed doors. Some plastic items melted from heat on the home’s second floor but the upper level was mostly affected by heavy smoke alone.
The woman told officials that she had been in the living room upstairs when she heard an unusual sound coming from below and headed down to investigate. When she got close to the bottom of the stairs, she found smoke and heat. She made her escape through the man door leading from the first floor into the garage and used the relatively-safe exterior stairs to reach her dog, still on the second floor.
Investigators from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene. Physical indicators point to the ceiling in one of the downstairs bedrooms as the likely origin of the blaze. Witness statements and evidence suggest that the cause may have been electrical. Highly combustible materials such as particle board used on the ceilings and pressboard wallcoverings likely contributed to the fire’s apparent rapid growth.
While there were two smoke alarms in the home, batteries were missing from both. Officials note almost 60% of all home fire deaths occur in houses with no working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms provide vital early warning, allowing occupants time to make a safe escape. In today’s incident, the fire wasn’t detected until it was nearly too late.
There were no other injuries to firefighters or civilians. The homeowner is insured; both occupants are staying with friends. The American Red Cross is also assisting.
October 14, 2017
BUSINESSES CLOSED AFTER CAR CRASHES INTO BUILDING
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to Kingston Crossing’s Building A at 8202 NE SR 104 at about 12:40 p.m. on Saturday. Arriving on scene, they found that a mid-sized sedan had apparently crashed into the back of the nearly10,000 SF masonry structure. At the car bumper’s level, the building was pushed in over a foot at the location of the structure’s electrical meters. Inside, in the restroom serving an Edward Jones office, the toilet had been pushed off its connections. An occupant of the office acted quickly, shutting down water to limit additional damage.
The driver of the car, an 80 year-old Kingston woman, denied any injuries. She told crews that she’d mistaken the car’s accelerator pedal for the brake pedal.
Because of the damage to the electrical system, fi ters shut down power to the building which forced the six tenants to close their businesses. As of late this afternoon, an electrician was on the scene to make repairs. It is unknown when the building will be opening again.
October 13, 2017
FIRE ALARM SAVES HOME
Firefighters summoned in time to snuff accidental fire before it could spread
(INDIANOLA, Wash.) – Combustibles left atop a stove burst into flames apparently after the appliance’s controls were accidentally moved into the “on” position this evening. The smoke generated by the growing fire tripped the home’s monitored fire alarm system, automatically dispatching firefighters to the incident. Crews were able to stop the small fire’s progress and to clear the home of remaining smoke and fumes, significantly limiting damage.
A North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crew was called to an address on the Indianola Spit at 5:41 p.m. after a fire alarm monitoring company reported the system’s activation to the local emergency dispatch center, Kitsap 911. Firefighters arrived on scene approximately 8-1/2 minutes after dispatch to find the 2,300 square foot, two story house entirely filled with smoke. They immediately requested additional units to handle what appeared to be (and, without the early warning to firefighters, likely would have become) a house fire. As crews sped from across North Kitsap, the initial responders forced their way into the locked structure and located the source of the smoke. After extinguishing the materials on the stove top and checking to make sure the fire hadn’t spread beyond its origin, they canceled the other units and worked on clearing the fumes from the home.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene, and determined that the fire was likely accidental in origin. The house is being remodeled. The homeowners were temporarily storing items on the stove and countertops to provide access to construction crews. Workers in the home at the end of the day were working in that area and likely bumped the stove to activate the burners. NKF&R Battalion Chief Ken LeMay observed that it’s never a good idea to leave combustibles on any heat source – operating or not — and expressed his appreciation for the alarm system. “Without the alarm system’s early warning, that fire had plenty of fuel to grow undetected into something much bigger and more destructive.” The district’s spokeswoman Michele Laboda says, “Monitored fire alarm systems are fairly inexpensive and the costs can easily be recouped with the resulting lower fire insurance rates.” She adds, “Today, with nearly all the loss avoided, this system paid for itself in one event.”
There was no one in the home at the time of the incident, and no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
August 10, 2017
STATEMENT TO THE PUBLIC
To the people we serve:
As many in our community have been following the civil case arising from the July 2014 fatal crash between one of
our fire engines and Jason Foster, we are writing to share that NKF&R will not be pursuing an appeal of the jury
verdict. After careful consideration of the time and cost involved in an appeal, it was decided to settle this case.
Following the verdict, our legal counsel and insurer initially felt there was a sound basis for appeal and we
communicated this in our statement of May 26. However, after appellate counsel was retained, it was determined
that the amount of the jury’s award would likely withstand an appeal.
This was a fully insured incident, accurately reported, investigated and covered. The settlement comes at no
financial expense to the communities of North Kitsap, and we have the continued assurance of our insurance
carrier that this will not affect our premiums or ability to get insurance in the future.
We believe this decision was made for the best interest of everyone involved, and our thoughts and prayers will
always be with the Foster family. We hope that concluding this matter will afford them the opportunity to heal and
allow us to return our entire focus to serving you.
If you have a question or concern, please let me know directly. Call me at (360) 297-3619. Send a message to me
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come to our Board of Fire Commissioners meetings on the second and fourth Mondays at 7:15
p.m. at our headquarters station near Kingston. We will do our best to answer your questions and respond to your
concerns, to the full extent we are able.
July 14, 2017
KINGSTON MAN SUFFERS BURNS IN COOKING FIRE
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — A Kingston man was airlifted to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center with burns after a pan of oil caught fire at his home on Thursday evening.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were dispatched to a report of injuries following a fire, now out. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found the man with second degree burns to his entire right arm. He told crews that a pan of oil had been set on the stove to heat. After leaving the kitchen for a brief time, the man and his wife returned to find the pan ablaze. While his wife went to the home’s electrical panel to secure the stove’s circuit breaker, the man attempted to carry the flaming pan outside and the hot liquid sloshed onto his arm. Damage to the home itself was limited; light smoke and heat damage affected the stove, the stove vent and the cabinets above.
Due to the severity and location of the burn, paramedics called for an Airlift Northwest helicopter to land at David Wolfle Elementary School and transport the man from there to the regional burn center at Harborview.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of fires in the United States. Unattended cooking is the most common factor in these incidents. Firefighters say that these types of fires are best prevented by remaining in the kitchen when using stoves. They recommend keeping a pan lid handy – especially when cooking with oil or grease — and, in the event that fire breaks out, using the lid to smother the flames.
July 12, 2017
BOYS SAFE AFTER BEING SWEPT AWAY BY CURRENT WHILE SWIMMING AT POINT NO POINT
Neither was wearing a life jacket
(HANSVILLE, Wash.) – Two boys from Central Kitsap are now safe on shore despite some tense moments when Wednesday afternoon’s strong winds and currents overwhelmed the pair’s ability to swim back to the shores of Point No Point Park.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were dispatched to the park at 3:41 p.m. when several persons called 9-1-1 to report the boys’ calls for help from about 100 feet off shore. Firefighters from NKF&R’s Hansville station went directly to the park while crews from South Kingston headed to the nearby marina to get underway in the district’s fire-rescue boat. Rescue boats from Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue and the U.S. Coast Guard also responded. Without life jackets, the 11 and 12 year-olds were supported only by a boogie board. The first crews to arrive noted that the boys were struggling. While the rescue boats sped to the scene, firefighters broadcast on the marine distress frequency in an attempt to get assistance from any passing boats that might be already in the area; none responded. From the shore, firefighters directed the boys to let the current carry them into calmer waters where they were able to paddle into the beach south of the park’s lighthouse.
Before any of the rescue boats arrived and about 25 minutes after firefighters were called, the pair was safely out of the water — very cold and tired but otherwise apparently uninjured. After about a half hour warming up in NKF&R’s medic unit, the boys left with the adults who’d brought them to the popular beach.
The district’s new fire-rescue boat, funded by a federal grant in 2015, is moored at Port of Kingston Marina and centrally-located to NKF&R’s service area. Through an interlocal agreement between agencies, the district’s first boat is now operated by Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue across the Hood Canal and well-positioned to assist there as well as along NKF&R’s northernmost shorelines. Despite this, response times over the water are naturally much longer than those on land and firefighters urge the public to do their part to remain safe on and around the waters of Puget Sound. They point to the potential danger of sites like Point No Point, where strong winds and currents can quickly combine with the water’s frigid temperature to endanger even the most capable and experienced swimmers. In July 2011, five teenaged swimmers at the same location and without life jackets found themselves in peril after their makeshift raft disintegrated. That group was saved when bystanders stepped in to help them to shore.
July 7, 2017
BRUSH FIRE CONSUMES AN ACRE IN NORTH KITSAP
Fireworks appear to be the cause
(Between POULSBO and KINGSTON, Wash.) – A wildland fire, thought to have been sparked by fireworks, scorched about an acre of vegetation and threatened nearby forest here this afternoon. Thirteen firefighters spent three hours and several thousand gallons of water to stop the flames before afternoon winds pushed the fire into heavier timber at the site.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to a sand pit on Port Gamble Road just before 1 p.m. on Friday. A passerby reported smoke and flames visible from the site. The location, situated on the west side of the road between its intersections with Bond Road/SR 307 and SR 104, appears to be used for a range of purposes. There was evidence of earlier outdoor fires, spent shell casings, and at least three piles of fireworks debris. Spent bottle rockets and other firework devices were found throughout the areas charred by today’s blaze. Although there were no nearby structures, thick forest surrounded the site and flames had already scorched the closest stands of young Douglas Fir.
The first unit was on scene within 8 minutes reported a slow-moving fire across grasses, bushes and light trees in very steep terrain. Crews were able to quickly knock down the flames to stop further spread, but additional resources and time were necessary to dig through deep duff and fully extinguish deep-seated hot spots. Several members of NKF&R’s wildland team applied the skills they’ve honed during deployments to Eastern Washington fires. With no nearby fire hydrants, water for the battle was supplied by large tanker trucks.
Though other ignition sources could not be ruled out, officials say that evidence at the scene – chiefly, the abundance of related debris — points to a fireworks-sparked incident. Crews also note that the depth of the fire suggests that it may have slowly smoldered for several days before it was reported. “Had this incident occurred after several more days of dry weather,” observes NKF&R Spokeswoman Michele Laboda, “The outcome could have been much worse.” As fire danger continues to rise, officials urge caution with all ignition sources. Kitsap County has not yet instituted an outdoor burn ban for this summer.
There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
June 25, 2017
HOT TEMPS RAISE FIRE DANGER
Poorly-snuffed burn pile spreads to scorch quarter-acre between Kingston and Hansville
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – A quarter-acre of trees and brush has been scorched in a blaze that apparently started with a controlled outdoor fire from last week. Though this morning’s winds were pushing the flames toward a nearby home, crews were able to squelch it with about 2,000 gallons of water and two hours of digging.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to a location on the east side of Hansville Road, across from the Point Casino, at 8:50 a.m. on Sunday. A passerby called in the incident, seeing smoke coming from a location about 200 feet from the roadway. Firefighters found a smoldering blaze that had already blackened an estimated 200’ x 75’ swath of vegetation. Crews used one of the district’s tender trucks to supply the water that snuffed the flames, and dug into the burned areas to expose and extinguish any hidden hot spots. The property owner came to the scene and told crews that there hadn’t been any burning on the property since last Thursday. A controlled outdoor fire is required to have a fire break around the burn pile, and officials believe that an inadequate break and incomplete extinguishment combined with recent scorching-hot temperatures to reignite and spread the fire from the pile. Crews will be checking the site throughout the day to ensure that it remains out.
Officials note that this morning’s incident clearly illustrates the speed at which vegetation becomes dangerously dry in hot weather, and urge caution with all ignition sources.
June 18, 2017
KAYAKERS RESCUED FROM AGATE PASS
(SUQUAMISH, Wash.) – When observers here saw that a kayaking couple was in trouble and called 9-1-1 on Sunday evening, firefighters swung into action to help. However, as is often the case on the vast waters of Puget Sound, it was bystanders who made a difference for the pair.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to the shores of Agate Pass near Old Man House Park just after 7 p.m. While firefighters from the district’s Kingston station were getting NKF&R’s fire-rescue boat underway from its berth at the Port of Kingston Marina, a crew from NKF&R’s Suquamish station went directly to the park. There, they spotted the female kayaker clinging to a day-marker about 100’ into the channel while the male, towing the woman’s boat, was reportedly growing tired as he paddled against strong current in an unsuccessful effort to reach her. Bystanders along the Suquamish side of the pass were offering up their small boats to assist firefighters when a man on the Bainbridge Island shore brought his ski boat across, deftly rescuing the couple and their kayaks. He delivered them to the park, and returned to Bainbridge before crews could get his name. Once the pair was safely ashore, NKF&R’s rescue boat stood down.
The couple told crews that the woman had lost her paddle and, in an effort to keep from being swept away by the current, grabbed onto the day-marker’s piling. There, she got separated from her boat. She was wearing a life-jacket. Both the man and the woman denied any injuries and declined medical treatment.
Firefighters remarked upon the neighbors’ enthusiastic willingness to pitch in and pointed to the skillful help provided by the Bainbridge boater. “When called to water rescues, our crews respond our boat as quickly as possible but pleasure craft in the immediate area can naturally get to the incident faster,” notes NKF&R Spokeswoman Michele Laboda,”That’s what happened today, and we’re grateful for the assist.”
May 26, 2017
STATEMENT TO THE PUBLIC
To the people we serve:
On May 18, a King County Superior Court jury rendered a $9.5 million verdict against North Kitsap Fire & Rescue and in favor of the widow and family of Jason Foster. Mr. Foster was a 48 year-old Kingston resident who was involved in a fatality accident on July 4, 2014 with one of our fire engines. Several legal errors by the court contributed to the unusually-large verdict. Despite our deep compassion for Mr. Foster’s family and our recognition of their profound loss, we will be appealing this verdict to ensure a fair process and to protect our valuable relationship with you, the people we serve.
It’s important to note that the investigation of the crash did not result in the filing of any criminal charges. Furthermore, this tragic accident was unprecedented in our history. For decades, our well-trained professionals — both paid and volunteer — have been responding to calls and driving safely every day, without any significant incident.
Despite these facts, the Seattle jury awarded $9.5 million to Mr. Foster’s widow, seven adult children and one minor child. Our business is saving lives and property; we are not experts in the law. However, we strongly believe that the courts are a place where all parties deserve a fair opportunity to present their case, and to seek a just and fair verdict. Our attorneys have carefully reviewed the case and have concluded that the court’s errors on key rulings denied this opportunity to us and our firefighters. Though these issues and the size of the award are factors in the decision to appeal, we are especially concerned about the verdict’s potentially-damaging effects on your trust in us.
To serve you, we must have your trust. We’ve worked hard to earn it and, every day, we work to maintain it. We want you to be confident that, should the worst occur, you can count on our well-trained personnel to respond quickly, safely and compassionately. We want you to know that we’re open and honest with you, and that we’re careful stewards of the resources you provide to us.
The Fosters have suffered an immeasurable loss. We continue to do our jobs as we always have, but the crash and its awful consequences are never far from our minds. As many in our community already know, we try to do what we can to help grieving families in the wake of their losses. Due to pending litigation, we were prevented from extending our usual compassionate support to the Foster family. We make it our practice to be as transparent and communicative as possible. However, we have been constrained from publicly discussing the accident and from responding to stories in social and traditional media as completely as we would like. We will have to continue to operate under those constraints until the litigation has finally ended.
If you have a question or concern, please let me know directly. Call me at (360)297-3619. Send a message to me at email@example.com. Come to our Board of Fire Commissioners meetings on the second and fourth Mondays at 7:15 p.m. at our headquarters station near Kingston. We will do our best to answer your questions and respond to your concerns, to the full extent we are able to, under the present circumstances.
We are grateful for your support in the past, and thank you for your continued trust now and into the future.
April 10, 2017
ELECTRICAL FIRE DESTROYS TRAILER, DISPLACES ONE
(SUQUAMISH, Wash.) – An electrical problem sparked a fire in a travel trailer that displaced a man and destroyed most of his possessions here on Sunday evening. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
Crews from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department were called to the corner of Geneva Street and Urban Avenue just after 7 p.m., following a neighbor’s 9-1-1 call to reoprt a possible house fire. As units made their way to the scene, firefighters received updated information indicating that a trailer (and not a house) was burning. Bystanders reported a series of explosions that were later determined to have been the result of fireworks that had been stored in the trailer. The first firefighters arrived on scene within 5 minutes of dispatch, and found the 18’ trailer fully-involved in flames. Crews were able to quickly squelch the fire, but not before the metal structure and its contents suffered severe damage. The blaze was contained to the trailer, and did not spread to nearby structures.
The occupant had been using an extension cord, connected to the nearby home, to provide power to the trailer. He told officials that the breaker serving the extension cord’s circuit had tripped earlier in the afternoon, shortly before he and his dog left for Silverdale, adding that it wasn’t unusual for it to trip when overloaded.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the incident. After talking with witnesses and examining the evidence at the scene, she determined that the fire was accidental and likely started in the center left side of the trailer near the spot where the extension cord was connected.
Fires sparked by extension cords are not uncommon. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (www.esfi.org) reports that, annually, about 3,300 residential fires start this way. To avoid fires, officials recommend that extension cords be used to power just one portable appliance at a time, and for temporary purposes only. All electrical cords should be protected from mechanical damage that may occur when they’re run across traffic areas or through windows and doors. Overinsulation can also become a fire hazard when cords are run underneath carpets or other materials.
The trailer was not insured. Friends, family and the American Red Cross are assisting the man.
February 9, 2017
FIREFIGHTERS SAVE BUILDING FROM INTENTIONALLY-SET FIRE
Twenty escape flames due to fast efforts of building owners, a ferry worker and sheriff’s deputies
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – Fire crews saved most of a small local motel here early this morning, but the fire that the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office has called an arson has left one person injured, several others displaced and a business closed until further notice. Officials say that the incident could have been far worse if it hadn’t been for the heroic efforts of those on scene prior to firefighters’ arrival.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were initially called to the Blue Water Motel on State Route 104 at 3:42 a.m. Thursday for a brush fire behind the business.. While units were en route to the incident, additional callers to Kitsap 9-1-1 reported that one of the motel’s two buildings was aflame, and dispatchers upgraded the incident to a commercial structure fire. Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) deputies arrived on the scene within mere minutes of fire unit’s dispatch, and confirmed heavy fire from the 6-unit, 2-1/2 story motel annex. The incident commander requested the additional personnel and equipment of a second-alarm fire, drawing more than thirty firefighters from across Kitsap County — NKF&R, Poulsbo Fire Department, Bainbridge Island Fire Department, Puget Sound Federal Fire Department and Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue.
The building’s owners, a Washington State Ferries employee who stopped to assist while on his way to work and KCSO deputies circled the motel’s buildings, pounding on doors to rouse occupants and get them out. The first-arriving crew was on scene in just over seven minutes following their dispatch, and they found the structures evacuated. Flames were coming from an upper story window as well as from the ends of that building’s upper story covered walkway. Firefighters were able to tie into an adjacent fire hydrant and, armed with plentiful water supplies, directed 1000 gallons-per-minute into the fire window. Within ten minutes of their arrival, the fire had been knocked down. In another ten minutes, the fire was under
control. While building owners were fairly certain that all occupants were safely out, crews conducted multiple searches to verify that no one remained inside. Others worked to track down any hidden hot spots. Firefighters remained on scene throughout the day to assist fire investigators as they worked. State Route 104 was closed during the height of operations for approximately two hours, disrupting travel to the ferry terminal.
Investigators from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office, after collecting statements from witnesses and examining the physical evidence at the scene, have confirmed earlier reports that the fire was intentionally-set in a room of the annex’s upper story. For additional information about the suspect and his arrest, contact the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. More information about the fire investigation is available through Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam.
An adult male, staying in the room adjacent to the room where the fire was set, told officials that he’d been awakened by the smell of smoke and was forced to run past the open door of the burning room to make his escape. Friends drove the man to a local hospital where he said he was treated for smoke inhalation and released. Although the buildings’ units were equipped with single-station smoke alarms, no building-wide fire alarm or sprinkler system was required a motel of the Blue Water’s small size.
Businesses and individuals in this small, tight-knit town came out to help motel evacuees and firefighters. The local grocery store, Kingston Food Market, and the Grub Hut Restaurant both opened early to provide warm shelter while a local coffee stand, the Cup and Muffin, delivered hot beverages to the crews.
Although the majority of fire damage was limited to the upper story of the motel annex building, heat and water damage also impacted the lower story. That building has been condemned by the fire marshal. Flames also affected the exterior of the motel’s main building – situated less than ten feet away. Out of concern that the 15-unit, 2-story structure’s electrical wiring may have been damaged, officials aren’t allowing occupants to stay there so the motel is temporarily closed. Four units – including the owners adjacent apartment on site, and three guest units – were serving as permanent residences. The building is insured and the owners are staying with family. The other displaced families are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.
January 7, 2017
UPDATE: The investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office, based on evidence at the scene, has confirmed that the fire was likely sparked by the pan of grease left on the stove.
MAN DISPLACED BY DESTRUCTIVE SATURDAY AFTERNOON FIRE
Delayed 9-1-1 call may have contributed to the extent of damage
(SUQUAMISH, Wash.) – No one was injured but an adult male was displaced when a fire caused substantial damage to his home here on Saturday
afternoon. A delay in calling 9-1-1, while the man attempted to fight the flames, likely contributed to extent of the fire’s destruction and officials say the man is fortunate to have escaped injury. Although the fire’s precise cause remains under investigation, the homeowner told firefighters that, before heading out to the store, he had forgotten to turn off the kitchen stove where he’d been heating a pan of grease. The man is not insured, but he is receiving assistance through volunteers with the American Red Cross and staying with family members.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), Poulsbo Fire Department and Bainbridge Island Fire Department crews were dispatched to the Geneva Street address at 1:17 p.m. The first crew — responding from NKF&R’s Suquamish station, just two blocks away – got to the scene within three minutes and found heavy smoke coming from the less than 1,000 SF cottage. Firefighters were able to knock down the main fire quickly, but complete extinguishment of all hot-spots was more complicated and time-consuming as they dug into multiple layers of materials and a thick covering of moss to access hidden fire within the home’s attic spaces. Flames and heat have affected about half of the home while smoke damage has impacted all of the interior spaces.
The man told officials that he’d forgotten that he’d been heating a pan of grease before heading out to the store. Upon his return from that quick trip, he discovered thick black smoke coming from the house. Despite the choking fumes, the man entered the house multiple times with buckets of water in an unsuccessful effort to squelch the flames. When it became apparent that the fire was only getting bigger, the man said he finally retreated and called 9-1-1. Despite his apparent exposure to smoke, the man denied any ill effects.
Geneva Street was closed to traffic for several hours between Augusta Avenue and 1st Avenue while crews worked.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene. As of this writing, he has not completed his investigation into the fire’s official cause and origin.
Though they urge untrained civilians not risk themselves and others with attempts to fight anything but the smallest of fires, officials say that it’s not uncommon as illustrated by today’s incident. They want to remind the public about the importance of calling 9-1-1 to minimize damage and injury. “Call first and fast to get well-trained and equipped crews to the scene as quickly as possible,“ says NKF&R Spokeswoman Michele Laboda.
December 23, 2016
ONE HOSPITALIZED AFTER HOUSE FIRE
Occupants barely escape home without working smoke alarms
(HANSVILLE, Wash.) – A 26 year-old man is hospitalized and a family is displaced after a fire caused significant damage to a home in this community’s Shorewoods neighborhood last evening. Crews were unable to find any working smoke alarms inside the home so, despite the family’s losses, firefighters say they are very lucky to have escaped the flames. The fire’s cause remains under investigation.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), Poulsbo Fire Department, Bainbridge Island Fire Department and Puget Sound Federal Fire Department at Subase Bangor crews were called to the Ponderosa Boulevard home at 10:09 p.m. Thursday evening. The injured young man’s mother was on the second floor of the three story, 1,500 SF home and had not yet fallen asleep for the evening when she heard a series of crashing noises coming from the ground floor. Upon investigating the sounds’ source, she heard her son calling for help from his bedroom downstairs. She attempted to reach him, but was thwarted by heavy smoke and heat. The woman returned to the second floor for a phone to call 911 and evacuated. The first crew on scene came from NKF&R’s Hansville station, and arrived in about 6 minutes. Heavy flames were visible from the back of the home. There was thick black smoke filling the first floor to within three feet of the ground. The mother met firefighters, and reported that her son was still inside. Crews called for more resources by striking a second alarm; as additional firefighters sped to the scene and the initial crew was preparing to do search and rescue, the young man exited on his own through the exterior door on the home’s street side.
While a paramedic attended to the young man, other firefighters worked to extinguish the flames using water from nearby hydrants. Crews called for a medical airlift but, due to unfavorable weather conditions, their request was denied. The man was taken by ground ambulance to Bremerton’s Harrison Medical Center where he’s expected to remain for several days. The fire was out within 40 minutes of crews’ arrival but spent an additional two hours on scene to extinguish any remaining hot spots.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene. Based on physical examination of the scene and witness statements, it appears that the fire started in the young man’s bedroom. Evidence points to several possible accidental causes there. When he’s recovered sufficiently to be interviewed by investigators, it’s hoped that the young man can provide the additional information investigators need to determine what sparked the fire.
Fire damage was limited to approximately one-half of the first floor’s interior spaces, and the exterior of the home’s back side. Water and heavy smoke damage affected the entire structure, except for the attached garage which appeared to have been protected by a closed, heavy-duty door connecting directly to the hallway adjacent to the fire.
The young man’s mother was examined by crews but declined medical treatment or transport. There were no other injuries to firefighters or civilians. The home is insured. The family, which also includes the man’s father – away at work at the time of the fire – is also receiving help from the American Red Cross.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that all homes be outfitted with a smoke alarm in every bedroom and on every level of the home. Smoke alarms more than double the chances of surviving a home fire, providing vital early warning of trouble. Test smoke alarms monthly, and replace the devices after ten years. For more information or to have smoke alarms installed in your home, contact your local fire department. Many – including NKF&R — will install alarms and/or replace batteries free of charge.
December 10, 2016
VACANT STRUCTURE DESTROYED IN SUSPICIOUS EARLY MORNING FIRE
(EGLON, Wash.) – A single-wide mobile home, thought to have been unoccupied, was consumed in a fire here early this morning that officials are calling “suspicious.”
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department crews were called to a property off of Hansville Road near its intersection with Eglon Road shortly after 4:30 a.m. on Saturday when the trailer’s owner, sleeping in a nearby home, was awakened by an unknown noise. She called 911 after looking out the window to see the trailer’s wall ablaze. While crews were still making their way to the incident, the owner told the 911 call-receiver that fire had grown to fully involve the structure. First units to arrive were on scene in a little over 7 minutes, and reported that flames were coming through the 15’ x 50’ structure’s roof. The owner assured crews that there was no one inside. Given this and the fire’s ferocious growth, firefighters focused their efforts on preventing the blaze from spreading beyond its building of origin. They were successful, keeping the fire contained and avoiding damage to the property’s other structures.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office (KCFMO) responded to the scene. Based on witness statements and physical evidence at the scene, she was able to rule out all possible accidental causes. There was no electrical power or propane to the trailer, and no woodstove or fireplace in use. Absent other explanations, the investigator believes the fire may have been intentionally-set. Officials with NKF&R as well as with KCFMO encourage anyone with information about the fire to call the Arson Hotline at (800)55-ARSON, KCFMO at (360)337-5777 or 911.
The property was insured. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
December 8, 2016
TWO DISPLACED, HOME DAMAGED IN EARLY MORNING FIRE
(MILLER BAY ESTATES, Wash.) — A couple was displaced but the majority of their home was saved from a fire in an attached shed this morning, despite frigid temperatures and a lack of fire hydrants in the area. Though the investigator says that the precise cause of the blaze remains undetermined, it appears to have been accidental in nature.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department crews were called to the Wavecrest Avenue home at 5:44 a.m. Thursday. Because the fire started outside the home, no smoke alarms activated initially. Instead, the occupants smelled smoke and heard unusual noises coming from outside. Upon investigating, they found flames and called 911. The couple evacuated themselves and the majority of their pets – three dogs and some turtles – but were initially unable to find the family cat. After crews left the scene, the feline reappeared and was apparently uninjured. The first engine arrived on scene in just over nine minutes after dispatch. Flames were visible from several blocks away and, upon crews’ arrival, heavy smoke was coming from all of the 1,200 SF single-story house’s attic vents. With only two hydrants in the Miller Bay Estates development, firefighters had to use the limited water available in the fire engines’ tanks – about 500 gallons each – to knock down the fire while they awaited arrival of water trucks carrying 2 – 3,000 gallons each.
The shed and its contents, which included a large volume of heirloom antiques, were almost entirely consumed by the fire. Strengthened by the significant amount of combustible materials inside, the shed fire spread to the home’s wall, eaves, into the attic and through a small portion of the roof. To reach and fully-extinguish hot spots in the overhead spaces, crews had to remove the ceiling in the room closest to that wall. The rest of the small home’s structure survived intact but the interior spaces sustained smoke and water damage throughout.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene. Based on occupants’ statements and physical evidence, she was able to rule out arson as a possible cause. It is also clear that the fire started in the small shed where a series of extension cords was providing power to a space heater. With the onset of cold weather earlier this week, the couple had started using the heater at night to protect the stored items inside the shed. The investigator couldn’t determine whether the cords or the appliance was responsible for the fire. NKF&R Spokeswoman Michele Laboda says, “Though we can’t be certain of this fire’s exact cause, we know that space heaters and extension cords are responsible for many fires – especially in cold weather.” Space heaters are most safely operated when plugged directly into a fixed outlet. They also need room; officials recommend keeping combustibles at least three feet away from all heat sources, including space heaters. Use of extension cords should be limited. Cords should not be chained together or subjected to mechanical damage from overinsulation or pinching. To protect families from fire whatever the cause, Laboda says that working smoke alarms are essential as is a practiced fire escape plan.
The couple is insured, and volunteers from the American Red Cross responded to provide immediate assistance to the couple. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
December 2, 2016
COUPLE SICKENED, ATTIC SCORCHED BY SMOLDERING BLAZE
(EGLON, Wash.) – A couple was sickened and a home was scorched in an attic fire here yesterday evening. The slow blaze, most likely sparked when heat from an adjacent chimney pipe ignited nearby structural components, had probably been smoldering and emitting fumes for more than a day before one of the occupants called 911. Crews were able to stop the fire, limiting damage to the attic and a small section of the roof. Though both reported symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning, both declined medical treatment or transport.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called just after 5:30 p.m. on Thursday to a possible chimney fire in a small split-level home off the north end of Little Boston Road. As the first unit arrived on the scene, the crew saw no flames or smoke showing. However, the homeowner met them to report that he’d opened the attic scuttle near the chimney and found embers in that hidden space. The first-in engine officer upgraded the incident to get additional resources from NKF&R, Poulsbo Fire Department and Bainbridge Island Fire Department in case the fire started spreading. Quickly getting the fire under control, firefighters were able to cancel crews from other areas but the complete extinguishment proved more complex due to the insulation-filled tight spaces around the chimney.
The couple told crews that they’d noticed light smoke inside the residence when using the woodstove over the past several days, but felt it was a normal side effect of the appliance’s operation. Yesterday morning, both awoke with headaches and nausea – which are among the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is one of the main by-products of fire. Thursday evening with symptoms and light smoke continuing, one of the occupants called for firefighters. Crews encouraged the couple to seek medical treatment but the pair refused. They were also advised to install carbon monoxide detection and to upgrade the home’s smoke alarms which never activated despite persistent fumes.
Officials encourage homeowners to have chimneys professionally cleaned and inspected annually. Additionally, carbon monoxide detectors are now required in single-family residences with fuel-burning appliances or an attached garage. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly. If outfitted with traditional 9Vs, smoke alarm batteries should be changed annually when clocks turn back in the fall. When outfitted with long-life batteries, the entire smoke alarm should be replaced when it emits a low-battery chirp or when the device no longer passes its monthly test. All smoke alarms should be replaced after ten years.
The couple, who was not displaced by the incident, is insured. There were no other injuries to firefighters or civilians.
September 20, 2016
DELIVERY DRIVER CALLS IN BRUSH FIRE
Despite recent rains and cooler weather, outdoor fires can still spread out of control
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – A delivery driver is credited with sounding the alarm and getting firefighters en route to squelch an outdoor fire that was spreading across a field and threatening at least one nearby structure.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) personnel were called to an address off of Parcells Road after the FedEx driver called 9-1-1 to report flames spreading across a pasture. Firefighters arrived on scene to find a 100’ x 50’ grassy area charred with 10’ flames moving into taller grasses. Fire was also heading toward a small container of fuel that, once involved, would have speeded the flame’s spread into a small barn about nearby. Using about 1000 gallons of water supplied by the fire engine and a tender truck, crews were able to stop the blaze.
The homeowner returned home while crews were still there. He told firefighters that he’d had an outdoor fire on Saturday, and thought it was out. Based on evidence at the scene, officials believe that Saturday’s fire reignited and, aided by the day’s light breeze, moved across the field. “This incident was kept small, thanks to the FedEx driver’s report,” notes NKF&R Spokeswoman Michele Laboda. “But, despite the rain we’ve had and recent lifting of the burn ban, it’s clear that fire danger remains a concern and outdoor fires must be handled with caution.”
September 19, 2016
LIFE JACKET SAVES MAN AFTER KAYAKING MISHAP ON HOOD CANAL
(HANSVILLE, Wash.) – A man is safe on shore this evening, thanks to a life jacket that helped keep him afloat as his strength waned during a 50-minute swim following the sinking of his kayak in the waters of Hood Canal.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were alerted just before 4 p.m. on Monday by the man’s aunt after she’d received a call from him in which he stated that his small, older kayak was sinking. While a crew of firefighters got underway from Kingston in the district’s fire-rescue boat, another team tried to spot the man from shore. He had been unable to accurately describe his location when speaking with his aunt who, after calling 9-1-1, went in search of her nephew. While driving along Cliffside Road, something caught her eye and she spotted the man swimming toward shore in the vicinity of the road’s hairpin turn about a mile south of the Shorewoods neighborhood. Firefighters met the man as he made it to shore, and worked to warm him after nearly an hour in the canal’s frigid waters. He declined further treatment.
The man told crews that he’d left his aunt’s home along Skunk Bay around 3 p.m., heading around Foulweather Bluff to Port Gamble. He was on his way back when the kayak began taking on water. Before the boat sank, the man was able to retrieve his cell phone from a waterproof bag and place the call to his aunt. Shortly thereafter, the kayak sank and the man started his swim for shore.
NKF&R’s fire-rescue boat arrived at the scene shortly after the man was spotted. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and another fire-rescue boat from Port Ludlow were preparing to respond but stood down once the man was safely ashore.
“It takes time to find a lone person in vast expanses of water like Hood Canal or Puget Sound,” says NKF&R Battalion Chief Ken LeMay. “Despite our resources, we know that we might not get to people before the cold water destroys their ability stay afloat – unless they’re wearing a life jacket.” Though firefighters say that the man involved in this afternoon’s incident was in very good shape, they also note that the outcome might not have been as favorable without a personal flotation device. The man agrees; the first thing he said to firefighters was that he wouldn’t have made it without it.
September 15, 2016
INTENTIONALLY-SET, BARN BURNS NEAR PORT GAMBLE
(PORT GAMBLE, Wash.) — When firefighters from across North Kitsap responded to a State Route 104 address after multiple passersby reported flames leaping into the sky from a large detached barn, they arrived on the scene to find that the property owner had illegally lit the fire to dispose of the unwanted outbuilding.
Crews from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department (PFD) were dispatched to a property along Port Gamble Bay, near SR 104’s intersection with Waterview Way and across from Gracey Nursery just before 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. The first unit on scene arrived in about seven minutes, and found the old 20’ x 40’ structure fully-involved in fire and collapsed onto the ground. Adjacent trees were catching fire as well. The property owner told firefighters that, no longer needing the structure, he had removed all items from inside and set the 60-70 year-old building on fire. The blaze grew more quickly than he expected, he said. Firefighters quickly squelched the fire and prevented the flames from spreading further into the trees. It took another hour to fully extinguish the embers in the remains of the old structure. SR 104 was limited to one lane of travel while crews worked.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office also responded to the scene. That office imposed an outdoor burn ban on August 19 due to high fire danger. The ban, which remains in effect, prohibits all outdoor burning except recreational fires of dry seasoned wood or charcoal in designated fire pits less than 3’ x 3’ x 2’. Whether there’s a burn ban in effect or not, it is never legal in Kitsap County to burn anything except natural vegetation without a special permit. For further information about the consequences of illegal outdoor burning, contact the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office.
There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
September 6, 2016
NKF&R FIREFIGHTERS HOST ANNUAL SEPTEMBER 11 BREAKFAST
Honor the memory of those who died and no longer act for themselves by performing deliberate acts of kindness, community and compassion in their names
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — As they do every year, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) firefighters are marking the solemn anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks by bringing the community together over good food for a good cause. Join firefighters for a continental breakfast on Sunday, September 11 from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. at NKF&R’s headquarters station (26642 Miller Bay Road NE near Kingston). The meal, sponsored in part by Port Madison Enterprises and Clearwater Casino Resort, is free but donations will be accepted to benefit the firefighters’ North Kitsap Community Partnership Fund.
Supported primarily with donations from NKF&R members, the Partnership Fund is entirely separate from the district’s publicly-funded budget. It provides resources that allow firefighters to give emergency assistance beyond the traditional response – food, shelter, clothing, gas money, taxi fare, etc – to people in need. It also pays for the district’s smoke alarm, bike helmet, life jacket and car seat programs as well as for other safety initiatives. The Fund, overseen by a committee of department members, occasionally also makes donations to local charities.
August 15, 2016
THREE PROMOTED, TWO HIRED
In ceremonies at the end of July, NKF&R members celebrated these important milestones
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — Members of North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and their families came together at the new Kingston Village Green Community Center on July 30 for a short but meaningful ceremony marking the filling of management vacancies as well as the launching of new careers.
In an effort to save money and maintain levels of emergency service during the economic downturn, the district left staff positions unfilled for several years. Sean Moran, a 27-year NKF&R veteran, has been promoted to assistant chief for training and support services – a position that had been vacant since the end of 2013. The 53 year-old was raised in Everett and graduated from Cascade High School. Before joining the fire service, Moran began developing his leadership skills as a manager in the grocery business. His private sector experience with tight budgeting has come in handy as he has pared down and maintained the district’s supplies budget. Moran was one of the first participants in the district’s highly-regarded volunteer firefighter training program. He was hired in 1992, and promoted to lieutenant in 1995. Shortly after his promotion, Moran was sent to instruct at the Washington State Fire Training Academy. Ever since, he’s been a recognized leader in firefighter training; as a captain (2001 – 2008) and as a battalion chief (2009 – 2016), Moran and his crews have a reputation for excellent skills that comes from a commitment to training. Moran looks forward to improving the connection between the training program’s administration and its actual implementation to produce an even better outcome for personnel as well as the public. He lives in Kingston with his wife. When he’s not working, Moran spends as much time as possible with his family and is completely smitten by his two grandchildren.
Ardyl Abrigo has been named to fill the shift battalion chief position left vacant by Moran’s promotion. Abrigo, 42, was born and raised in the Philippines. With his parents and his sister, he immigrated to the United States at the age of 14. Abrigo graduated from Clover Park High School and, in 1995, became a U.S. citizen. While attending the University of Washington, he took a job at the school’s hospital and was introduced to the medical field as well as to the possibilities of applying those skills in emergency services. Abrigo joined NKF&R’s volunteer-firefighter training program in 1998. He was hired in 2000 and had been serving as a lieutenant since 2007. During that time, Abrigo has achieved associate’s degrees in fire command and fire science from Olympic College and a bachelor’s degree in fire command from Eastern Oregon University. As C-Shift’s new leader, he wants to do all he can to help his personnel reach their career goals. He also wants to deepen the district’s ties to community with more outreach activities. Abrigo lives in Gig Harbor with his wife and two kids; when he’s not on shift, he spends his time supporting his family in their activities.
The district’s newest lieutenant, Mark Cooney, was raised on Bainbridge Island. After spending years in the food and beverage industry, the 44 year-old was so certain of his desire to become a firefighter that he paid his own tuition to Bates Technical College’s training academy. He recalls arriving with all of the required gear, but without any idea of how to use it. Fellow students showed him the ropes and, by the end of the academy, he was named to the Chiefs Company – selected by the instructors as members of an ideal engine company. Cooney was hired in 2004 and, having served on all three of the district’s shifts, has had the opportunity to learn from a wide array of leaders. He will be one of the instructors for the district’s upcoming recruit academy. As a lieutenant, his goal is to keep personnel motivated, safe and happy to be at work. Reinforcing a positive atmosphere, Cooney says, brings additional health to the district. When he’s not on the job, Cooney loves to spend time traveling with his family. He also serves as a mentor to teens through his church’s youth group. Cooney lives in Poulsbo with his wife and daughter.
Both new hires, filling vacancies created by promotions, are graduates the district’s volunteer firefighter training program and first joined it in September 2015. During their recruit academy, both were recognized by their instructors with the Bulldog Award for exceptional determination and hard work. Additionally, both were named to the Chiefs Company. Kaleb Murray, 25, was raised in Poulsbo. After graduating in 2009 from North Kitsap High School, he attended Olympic College on a scholarship and subsequently completed his bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Washington in 2014. The youngest of three, Murray joins his siblings in the helping professions; his brother, Steve, is a battalion chief for NKF&R and his sister, Becky, is an emergency room nurse at Harrison Hospital. As a new firefighter, he’s focusing on becoming a master of his craft. He is drawn to the fast-paced nature of the work, and to being the first to assist when emergencies strike. Murray is an accomplished snow skier and an avid movie fan. He lives in Poulsbo.
Janelle Randles, daughter of a Navy chief, has moved all over the country but is thrilled to be living and working in North Kitsap. The 21 year-old has an associate’s degree in arts and sciences from the Tri Cities’ Columbia Basin Community College where she also pitched on the school’s fast-pitch softball team. Randles sees firefighting as the best kind of team effort, involving intense coordination to get an important job done. When she’s not studying to be the best she can be in her new role, she is working out or playing bass guitar in an alternative rock band.
All five assumed their new roles on August 1.
August 7, 2016
FAST-MOVING FIRE GUTS KINGSTON HOME
Structure is a total loss, but all occupants — including the family’s dogs — escaped safely
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – A Jefferson Beach Estates family lost their home and most of their possessions in a fast-moving fire here this afternoon. Those inside had just moments to spare when alerted to the danger by smoke alarms; they evacuated with only the clothes on their backs, their pets and their cell phones. Although a fire investigator was on scene into the early evening, the cause has not yet been determined.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue, Poulsbo Fire Department and Puget Sound Federal Fire Department crews were dispatched at 1:09 p.m. Sunday to the Virginia Avenue home after multiple 9-1-1 callers reported flames and smoke from the two-story house. The first unit arrived on scene in just under 8 minutes, coming from NKF&R’s South Kingston Road station; upon their arrival, the officer reported that over half of the 1,990 square foot structure was involved in flames. Using a fire hydrant directly across the street, crews wer
e able to get water on the blaze quickly and had the main body of fire out within 20 minutes of their arrival. Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading beyond the house where it began, and no other structures were damaged though a truck stored in the garage was destroyed. Complete extinguishment of the fire proved far more difficult. The large volume of items inside the home provided fuel to the fire and complicated firefighters’ efforts to reach deep-seated hot spots. Furthermore, the heavy fire had so severely undermined the structure that crews could not safely operate inside. Firefighters, doing what they could from the outside, worked to snuff hot spots until early evening. Power was cut-off to the home as well as to three other residences, and Virginia Avenue was blocked in both directions for several hours.
Two of the occupants – a couple – were upstairs in their bedroom at the time of the incident. Upon hearing activated smoke alarms, they opened the bedroom door to investigate and found heavy smoke coming up the stairs. Meanwhile, a neighbor working on his roof spotted the flames and smoke coming from the home. He shouted to his family to call 9-1-1; the man’s son
headed to the burning home to see if he could help. Heat and smoke kept him from entering through the home’s back door. Shortly thereafter, the couple and their dogs safely escaped. The home’s two other occupants – the couple’s adult son and his girlfriend – had gone out to brunch and returned to find the home and their things ablaze.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office came to the scene. She has not yet determined a cause or point of origin for devastating blaze.
The family, who is insured, is staying with relatives in the neighborhood.
There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
June 24, 2016
ILLEGAL FIRE SAVES HOME
(INDIANOLA, Wash.) – Illegal outdoor fires are often the cause of destructive forest and structure fires but an illegal outdoor fire might have saved a home when it led firefighters to discover and solve a separate dangerous condition here this afternoon.
A North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crew was called to an Indianola residence for a burning complaint shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday. When firefighters arrived at the address, they found no one home and an outdoor fire burning. The lack of supervision alone rendered the fire illegal and, after attempting without success to get the attention of someone on the property, the crew extinguished the blaze. As they got close to the house in search of its occupant or occupants, they noticed the home’s smoke alarms were sounding. The home’s door was open and, for a moment, firefighters thought that the alarms had been tripped by stray smoke from the outdoor burn. When they opened a bedroom door and found smoke filling the space nearly to the floor, it was clear that this was the source of the alarm. Inside the room, the crew found a partially-melted plastic bucket containing a pair of young chickens and wood chips. A heat lamp had apparently fallen into the bucket and was on its way to sparking a dangerous fire. Firefighters used a small amount of water to cool the area, removed the chicks to the fresh air outside and used fans to eject the smoke from the home.
There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians, and damage to the home was minimal. The baby birds appear to have escaped serious injury as well.
June 10, 2016
FIRE COMMISSIONER AVERTS HOUSE FIRE
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – It wasn’t firefighters who made the difference at a house fire here this morning; it was one of their bosses – a fire commissioner – who averted a potential tragedy when she reported the flames while rousing the home’s occupants. As a result, damage was limited and there were no injuries to firefighter or civilians.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to the corner of Bannister and Oregon Streets at 4:38 a.m. on Friday after the commissioner called 9-1-1 to say a house’s porch was ablaze. The first unit arrived on scene from the district’s Miller Bay Road headquarters station within 7 minutes of dispatch, and found the fire out. The occupant, an adult male who rents the 400 SF single-story home, told crews that he was awakened by someone pounding on the house’s door and windows. He, along with an adult female and two children, evacuated the house while he used a fire extinguisher and garden hose to snuff the flames. Had the fire grew any larger, the occupants’ only working door would have been blocked by flames. Firefighters checked to make sure the house had working smoke alarms and spoke with the occupants about the importance of having at least two ways out of every room.
The commissioner, a Kingston resident and nurse working in physician education at a Seattle hospital, had parked her car at a friend’s home nearby and was walking to the ferry when she spotted the fire. After making sure that all occupants were out and the fire was under control, she continued on to her destination. Fire commissioners, acting as volunteer representatives of the public, are responsible for the overall budgetary and policy direction of the fire district. She was initially appointed to the body in 1994 and subsequently re-elected three times.
Damage from the fire was limited to a small portion of the house’s porch and railing. The occupants were not displaced by the incident. Although officials could not pinpoint a definitive cause for the blaze, evidence at the scene suggests that it was accidental and, possibly, the result of a discarded cigarette. Firefighters say that smoking materials are best disposed of in a water-filled can with a tight-fitting lid.
June 3, 2016
CAR NARROWLY MISSES TRAILER, HOME IN CRASH NEAR POULSBO
(POULSBO, Wash.) – A 65 year-old Poulsbo woman was transported to a local hospital after her vehicle plowed through a fence and narrowly missed striking a trailer at the foot of Gunderson Road here this afternoon.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to Gunderson’s intersection with Miller Bay Road, which runs between the towns of Kingston and Suquamish, at 1:25 p.m. The first crew to arrive on scene found a section of 8-foot fence down and the newer sedan atop two large concrete barriers (commonly known as “ecology blocks”). The car’s nose had stopped just inches from a travel-trailer, parked in a private residence’s yard. Directly past the travel-trailer was a manufactured home which was occupied at the time of the crash. The car’s air bags had deployed, and an off-duty paramedic was inside the vehicle caring for the patient. Crews stabilized the car before moving the driver from the vehicle to a waiting ambulance. She was taken by paramedic unit to Harrison Medical Center as a precaution.
It appeared that the blocks had been placed behind the fence to protect the property from traffic incidents. Firefighters say that, in this case, it looks as though the blocks effectively slowed the car’s progress enough to prevent any damage to the trailer or the home.
Northbound travel along Miller Bay Road was disrupted for less than 30 minutes while crews worked. Deputies from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the cause of the crash.
There were no other injuries to firefighters or civilians.
June 3, 2016
MAN AIRLIFTED AFTER PUGET SOUND DIVING INCIDENT
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – A 43 year-old Tulalip man was airlifted to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center following an apparent mishap during a commercial geoduck dive in the waters of Puget Sound.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to Port of Kingston Marina this afternoon at 1:45 p.m. to meet an incoming vessel carrying the ill man. Updated information provided to responders as they awaited the patient’s arrival suggested that the man might need care that can only be provided in Seattle, and they called for an Airlift Northwest helicopter to land in the empty parking lot near the marina’s boat launch. The man was conscious and alert upon his transfer to an NKF&R paramedic’s care. He told crews that he’d been diving on surface-supplied air for 2-1/2 hours at depths ranging from 40 – 75 feet, about two miles north of the marina, and surfaced at the regular pace without incident. He began to feel ill once aboard his boat, and asked for help.
There are no further details about the patient or his condition at this time. If additional information becomes available, NKF&R will provide an update.
May 31, 2016
POULSBO AND NORTH KITSAP TEACHING RESIDENTS HOW TO PREPARE FOR WILDFIRES
Despite what you might think, wildfire CAN happen here
(POULSBO, Wash.) –Despite the wet winter, wildfire is still a serious concern – even here, west of the Cascade Mountains. The unseasonably warm weather this past month spurred rapid growth of vegetation and spiked fire danger; already, large scale wildfires have broken out in forests around Oso and Gold Bar. Fire officials say that communities should take action now to prepare their homes and landscapes to withstand the wildfires that could strike, and they’re partnering with other groups to host informational meetings that will help citizens learn about wildland fire preparedness.
In a May 22 article by the Associated Press, state and federal fire officials expressed surprise and concern about the early start to the wildland fire season. They also noted that following the two worst wildland fire seasons in the state’s history, there is more interest in preparedness even in wetter Western Washington.
The Poulsbo Historical Society, Poulsbo Fire Department, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue, and the Suquamish Tribe, are partnering to host a series of free 50 minute wildfire safety information seminars around North Kitsap. The events will include information about wildland fire behavior, how to assess one’s own home and property for wildfire resistance, identification of individual and/or neighborhood strategies that can improve wildland fire safety and steps to prepare in advance of a wildfire evacuation order. There will be drawings for door prizes at each of the meetings.
Poulsbo Fire Department Battalion Chief Kurt Krech who, in addition to his service locally, deploys as a division supervisor on wildfires says, “Many people don’t realize that in wildfires, it’s not the wall of flames that engulf homes, it’s the burning embers that fly away to start spot fires. That’s what destroys most homes.” Krech adds that this type of disaster is preventable with advance strategies that include use of non-combustible construction materials, yard and house maintenance to provide firefighters with “defensible space,” and planting of fire-resistant vegetation.
The brief seminars will be offered in six convenient locations over a period of two weeks:
Poulsbo – City Hall Chambers (200 Moe St NE) on Monday, June 13 at 7 p.m.
Suquamish – House of Awakened Culture (7235 NE Parkway) on Tuesday, June 14 at 7 p.m.
Hansville – Hansville Community Center (6778 Buck Lane Rd NE) on Wednesday, June 15 at 7 p.m.
Keyport – Keyport Fire Station 1863 NE Pacific Ave on Monday, June 20 at 7 p.m.
Kingston – Village Green Community Center (26159 Dulay Rd NE) on Tuesday, June 21 at 7 p.m.
Port Gamble – Port Gamble Pavilion (Walker St) on Wednesday, June 22 at 7 p.m.
For additional information, contact Poulsbo Fire Department (360-779-3997) or North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (360-297-3619). Interested persons can also find valuable tips on the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ wildfire preparedness page or on the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities page.
May 22, 2016
HELMET, OFF-ROAD-VEHICLE KEY TO APPARENT GOOD OUTCOME FOLLOWING TRAIL RIDE MISHAP
(PORT GAMBLE, Wash.) – The complicated rescue of a man who suffered injuries in a fall from a horse deep in the Port Gamble trail system drew multiple fire and aid units from two fire departments here this morning. Though initial reports suggested a life-threatening situation, the man’s riding helmet appears to have protected him from more serious injury.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to a trailhead on Port Gamble Road, south of SR 104 and north of Bond Road/SR 307 at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday following a cellular phone call to 911. It was reported that a 57 year-old man had fallen from a horse about 1-1/2 miles from the nearest road access and was unconscious. The first crews arrived at the trailhead in less than five minutes to find that a gate with a difficult-to-operate lock barred vehicle access. The crew immediately set to loading necessary equipment onto the ambulance’s gurney, using it as a cart for the trip up the trail. Another member of the riding party led them as they rushed to the scene on foot where, about ten minutes later, they found that the patient was now alert and oriented. Meanwhile, Poulsbo Fire Department (PFD) offered assistance from their new trailerable off-road-vehicle (ORV 71) and, along with the PFD duty chief, arrived at trailhead quickly. After several more tries at opening the gate, crews were successful and used ORV 71 to meet the first crew and assist with the patient’s transport down the trail to the ambulance. In just under an hour, the now-stable patient was en route to Bremerton’s Harrison Medical Center via aid unit.
The group told firefighters that a dog had spooked the man’s horse, causing it to bolt. The man fell to the ground; the back of his helmet sustained significant damage. Officials credit the sturdy helmet with preventing a more serious head injury. They add that it’s often a challenge to reach patients who become ill or injured on one of the area’s many trails; groups can have difficulty reporting an exact location and/or many of the area’s trails aren’t wide enough to accommodate even the nimble ORV 71. Today, even though the group was able to provide rescuers with clear direction and the trails were sufficient for the ORV, response was still slower than it would be in more developed areas. To ensure the best outcome from a trail incident, firefighters encourage users to follow this group’s example: minimize delays by calling at the first sign of an emergency and provide dispatchers with location information that’s as accurate as possible.
April 28, 2016
NKF&R TO WELCOME NEW FIRE-RESCUE BOAT IN APRIL 30 EVENT
Grant-funded vessel will bolster region’s readiness, provide nimble platform for fire-rescue operations on water and near water
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) will formally welcome its newest tool for protecting lives and property – a fire-rescue boat – with a christening ceremony and demonstration shortly after 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 30 at the Port of Kingston’s waterside Mike Wallace Park. Funded primarily by a federal port security grant and built by Oregon’s North River Boats, the Valor-class vessel was delivered in November. Since entering service early this year, the boat has already been used to help fight a shore-side blaze and to provide vital assistance at a recent marina fire.
The boat has a 38’ aluminum hull, with less than a 3’ draft. Including a protective cage around the vessel’s outboard motors, it has a 45’ overall length. Twin 300 hp Mercury Vercados produce cruising speeds in excess of 30 knots while carrying its full payload of about 8,000 pounds. The boat’s 10’ beam (width) includes a foam collar with air bladder that encircles the hull to provide protection, stability and – if necessary – flotation. Its on-board fire pump is rated at 1,500 gallons per minute, delivered through monitors (high capacity fire nozzles) on the vessel’s bow and stern. Though the boat’s decks provide plenty of room to work, the bow monitor can be operated remotely. The heated and spacious cabin has ample space for crew and, if necessary, patients; a navigation table inside can be quickly converted to accommodate a backboard or rescue, providing the district with another means of transporting the injured or ill from boats or difficult-to-access locations along the shore. Radar, sonar, global positioning (GPS), powerful lighting and infrared camera/thermal imaging are among its advanced navigation and search-and-rescue tools.
North River Boats in Roseburg, Oregon was selected to construct the vessel after a public and competitive bid process in which the company was a qualified builder and met the specifications for the lowest price. Including Washington state sales tax and delivery charges, the vessel and its equipment cost a total of $612,244. Funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) covered 75% ($409,813) of the craft’s base price ($512,266). NKF&R’s share was $202,431 and included taxes and delivery. According to its web site, the PSGP “ … is one of the … programs that directly support(s) maritime transportation infrastructure security activities. PSGP is one tool in the comprehensive set of measures authorized by Congress and implemented by the Administration to strengthen the Nation’s critical infrastructure against risks associated with potential terrorist attacks.”
NKF&R’s service area stretches across 46 square miles of the northeast side of the Kitsap Peninsula, and includes 75 miles of shoreline. Moored at the Port of Kingston and staffed primarily with crews from the district’s South Kingston Road station about 5 minutes away from the dock, the boat is well-positioned to fill gaps in the central Puget Sound region’s maritime emergency response resources. In addition to marine rescues, the vessel will be a boon to mitigation of shore-side incidents such as beach rescues, brush fires and structure fires. Already, it has been instrumental at a January 2016 structure fire on the tip of the Kitsap Peninsula that was nearly inaccessible; the cabin that burned was not served by a road. The boat also served as a vital asset in the effort to stop the March 20 blaze at Port Orchard Marina.
The new boat replaces and far exceeds the capabilities of NKF&R’s previous fire-rescue vessel. The 14 year-old craft began service in 2001. Powered with an in-board jet drive, the 28’ boat topped out at about 20 knots. Its firefighting capabilities were less robust; it could deliver only 250 gallons per minute from one monitor on the bow. NKF&R’s Board of Fire Commissioners hasn’t yet made a decision on the future of the previous boat.
The ceremony, which follows the 2 p.m. dedication of Kingston’s new community center situated within walking distance of the marina, will include brief remarks from officials including U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer whose 6th Congressional District includes NKF&R’s service area, and USCG Captain M.W. “Joe” Raymond, Commander of Sector Puget Sound. There will be songs from the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish Tribes as well as a demonstration of the boat’s capabilities and opportunity to tour the vessel. For further information about the event, call (360)297-3619.
April 21, 2016
FIREFIGHTERS SQUELCH LARGE BRUSH FIRE
Controlled burn piles get out of control to scorch nearly a half-acre near Hansville
(HANSVILLE, Wash.) – Hot and dry weather can quickly change the level of fire danger – even when there’s been recent heavy rainfall – as illustrated by this afternoon’s large brush fire near Hansville. Nearly a half-acre was burned after controlled fires, being used to dispose of natural vegetation debris on the property, spread. Nine firefighters spent three hours and 4,500 gallons of water to thoroughly douse remaining hot spots.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to Pegasus Lane, about 2.5 miles south of Hansville and off of Hansville Road, at 12:50 p.m. after a member of the public became concerned about smoke and flames coming from a property and called 911. Firefighters arrived on the scene to find at least two large piles ablaze with no one watching the fires. Smoke was issuing from the ground across a wide expanse. Two homes on adjacent parcels as well as forested land could easily have been threatened by the spreading fires.
Crews eventually located one of the owners inside a home on the property; another returned home while crews were on scene working. Firefighters explained some of the outdoor burning rules to the couple.
• Permits, available free of charge at any staffed fire station, are required for all outdoor fires over 3’ in diameter.
• All fires must be attended at all times.
• A means of extinguishing the fire must be available on site.
• Only one pile at a time can be burned.
• Only natural vegetation, dry and seasoned wood, or charcoal can be burned.
Although the region received record rainfall this spring, conditions can shift rapidly with a few days of high temperatures and low humidity as we experienced this week. In an effort to limit the risk posed by outdoor burning, officials urge the public to follow the rules and pay close attention to conditions.
No structures were damaged, and there were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
April 16, 2016
BOILER MALFUNCTION SPARKS FAST-MOVING FIRE
No one injured and fire damage limited but home sustains heavy smoke damage throughout
(CLIFFSIDE, Wash.) – A young couple and their pets escaped safely this afternoon after a diesel-fueled boiler, used to warm water for the home’s in-floor heating system, malfunctioned and sparked a fast-moving fire. Cliffside Road at Hood Canal Drive was closed for as long as 90 minutes while firefighters worked.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department crews were called to the 5000 square foot, multi-level Hood Canal Drive residence at 1:51 p.m. Saturday following a 9-1-1 call from the house’s occupants. The woman, still sleeping after working late last evening, was awakened by unusual noises coming from a room below that houses the boiler. After finding no fire or smoke but noting a puddle of fuel on the floor under the boiler, she awakened the male who went downstairs just moments later to find smoke billowing from the utility room. The usual escape route cut-off by heavy smoke, the home’s smoke alarms began sounding as the pair fled with their pets from a window about eight feet above the ground. The female called 9-1-1 once outside; she, her boyfriend, their standard poodle and a parrot were uninjured.
Cliffside is situated between Hansville and Kingston. The first arriving firefighter was NKF&R’s duty chief, already en route from the district’s Kingston headquarters to the Hansville fire station when the incident was dispatched, arrived on scene just over five minutes after dispatch. He found heavy smoke coming from the home’s eaves but no flames were visible. When additional personnel arrived shortly thereafter, a team of firefighters entered the home to quickly squelch the main body of fire which had consumed the 8’ x 8’ utility room and its contents. The home’s ventilation ducts originated in the utility room, providing an easy path for smoke spread throughout the structure. Fire also climbed this route to the floors above, scorching structural elements along the way and into the attic. It took much longer for crews to find and snuff these hot spots.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office came to the scene. Based on information from the occupants and the firefighters as well as the physical evidence, the investigator determined that the fire likely began with the boiler’s failure. The resulting diesel leak probably fed the blaze as did baskets full of laundry situated nearby.
The home is uninhabitable but insured. The couple declined assistance with lodging, and will be staying with family.
This afternoon’s fire, officials say, underscores the importance of planning at least two different ways out of every room. “It’s not enough to plan two ways out of the house,” says NKF&R Spokeswoman Michele Laboda, “You must identify at least two ways out of every room.” Today, thick and noxious smoke blocked the couple’s access to all four of the home’s exterior doors; the home’s upper windows were their only remaining escape.
April 12, 2016
QUICK WORK CONTAINS FIRE TO GARAGE
(SUQUAMISH, Wash.) – An alert neighbor’s quick actions and the fire department’s fast response ensured that a garage fire of undetermined origin didn’t spread to an adjacent rental home here this evening.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department crews were called to Harris Avenue address at 5:31 p.m. on Tuesday. A neighbor saw smoke and fire coming from the detached 10’ x 20’ garage, pounded on the nearby home’s door to warn any occupants and called 911. The small dwelling is home to an adult woman and her 16 year-old daughter. Neither were there at the time of the incident but a friend was inside. He grabbed a garden hose and successfully kept the flames from traveling across the ten-foot wood canopy between the burning garage and the house. The first unit to arrive on scene was there within five minutes, coming from NKF&R’s nearby Suquamish station; that crew reported the garage to be well involved in flames. When the second crew arrived about four minutes later, the first crew already had the fire knocked down. Complete extingiushment of the fire took much longer as crews worked through the large volume of stored and singed tems inside the structure.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office also responded to the incident. In addition to its use as a storage space, the garage had electrical power and also served as a shop. As of this hour, investigators have not pinpointed the cause of the fire; it remains undetermined.
The home’s occupants, covered by renters insurance, weren’t displaced by the incident. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
March 14, 2016
PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — Notice is hereby given that the North Kitsap Fire & Rescue Board of Commissioners has set March 28, 2016 at 7:15 p.m. at the Paul T. Nichol Headquarters Station 81, 26642 Miller Bay Road, Kingston, Wash., as the time and place for the public hearing to adopt Resolution 2016-04 authorizing the transfer of any interests and liabilities in the assets of CenCom from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue to Kitsap County for the reorganization and re-establishment of CenCom as a separate legal entity.
A copy of the resolution is available to any citizen at Paul T. Nichol Headquarters Station 81 located at 26642 Miller Bay Road NE, Kingston, Wash. or on our website at www.nkfr.org. All interested citizens may appear at the public hearing and be heard for or against the resolution.
March 3, 2016
YOUNG FAMILY DISPLACED IN HOUSE FIRE
(KINGSTON, Wash.) — Two adults and two children were displaced from their rental home and the family pet perished in a blaze that may have started as chimney fire here on Wednesday evening. While the uninsured family’s loss is devastating, officials say it could have been much worse had the fire broken out when the occupants were home and asleep.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) crews were called to the residence, situated down a long driveway in the 22000 block of Miller Bay Road, at 5:24 p.m. on Wednesday after a neighbor spotted flames coming from the 1,300 SF manufactured home. The first unit arrived on scene less than four minutes after dispatch, and found the structure fully-involved in flames. Trucks (known as water tenders), each carrying thousands of gallons of water, ferried water to the scene for the firefight as there were no hydrants close by. Despite the fact that several portions of the single-story structure had collapsed, firefighters were able to control the fire within twenty minutes of their arrival on scene. Sadly, most of the family’s possessions were destroyed and their dog, a rescued mixed-breed named Tug, did not survive the blaze.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene. Through evidence at the scene and interviews with the home’s occupants, the investigator was able to locate the fire’s origin in the living room around a woodstove’s chimney. The family hadn’t been home since earlier in the day. The adult male was the last to leave, loading the woodstove and dampering it down prior to leaving for work at about 12:30 p.m. According to the couple, the woodstove was their primary source of heat and it is unknown when the chimney was last professionally cleaned and inspected. While investigators haven’t pinpointed the exact cause, it appears that the fire may have begun in the chimney and spread across the small attic space to involve the whole structure. Had the same fire broken out while the couple and their two small children (ages six weeks and three years) were home and asleep, firefighters say that the results might have been tragic.
Officials say that chimney fires can be avoided with regular cleaning and inspections by certified professionals. Once a fire breaks out and regardless of its cause, they say that working smoke alarms and practiced fire escape plans are especially vital for families with young children. To get help with smoke alarms and fire escape planning, firefighters urge the public to contact their local department. Most will install the life-saving devices and provide escape planning materials free of charge.
Though the structure was insured by the property owner, the young couple didn’t have renters’ insurance. The home is uninhabitable. Volunteers from the American Red Cross responded to the scene to offer assistance. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
February 26, 2016
NKF&R TO WELCOME NEW FIRE-RESCUE BOAT IN
MARCH 12 APRIL 30 EVENT
Grant-funded vessel will bolster region’s readiness, provide nimble platform for fire-rescue operations on water and near water
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) will formally welcome its newest tool for protecting lives and property – a fire-rescue boat – with a brief ceremony and demonstration beginning at
10 a.m. on Saturday, March 12 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 30 at the Port of Kingston’s waterside Mike Wallace Park. Funded primarily by a federal port security grant and built by Oregon’s North River Boats, the Valor-class vessel was delivered in November. Although it won’t officially enter service until early March, the boat has already been used to help fight a shore-side fire.
The boat has a 38’ aluminum hull, with less than a 3’ draft. Including a protective cage around the vessel’s outboard motors, it has a 45’ overall length. Twin 300 hp Mercury Vercados produce cruising speeds in excess of 30 knots while carrying its full payload of about 8,000 pounds. The boat’s 10’ beam (width) includes a foam collar with air bladder that encircles the hull to provide protection, stability and – if necessary – flotation. Its on-board fire pump is rated at 1,500 gallons per minute, delivered through monitors (high capacity fire nozzles) on the vessel’s bow and stern. Though the boat’s decks provide plenty of room to work, the bow monitor can be operated remotely. The heated and spacious cabin has ample space for crew and, if necessary, patients; a navigation table inside can be quickly converted to accommodate a backboard or rescue, providing the district with another means of transporting the injured or ill from boats or difficult-to-access locations along the shore. Radar, sonar, global positioning (GPS), powerful lighting and infrared camera/thermal imaging are among its advanced navigation and search-and-rescue tools.
North River Boats in Roseburg was selected to construct the vessel after a public and competitive bid process in which the company was a qualified builder and met the specifications for the lowest price. Including Washington state sales tax and delivery charges, the vessel and its equipment cost a total of $612,244. Funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) covered 75% ($409,813) of the craft’s base price ($512,266). NKF&R’s share was $202,431 and included taxes and delivery. According to its web site, the PSGP “ … is one of the … programs that directly support(s) maritime transportation infrastructure security activities. PSGP is one tool in the comprehensive set of measures authorized by Congress and implemented by the Administration to strengthen the Nation’s critical infrastructure against risks associated with potential terrorist attacks.”
NKF&R’s service area stretches across 46 square miles of the northeast side of the Kitsap Peninsula, and includes 75 miles of shoreline. Moored at the Port of Kingston and staffed primarily with crews from the district’s South Kingston Road station about 5 minutes away from the dock, the boat is well-positioned to fill gaps in the central Puget Sound region’s maritime emergency response resources. In addition to marine rescues, the vessel will be a boon to mitigation of shore-side incidents such as beach rescues, brush fires and structure fires. Already, it was instrumental at a January 2016 structure fire on the tip of the Kitsap Peninsula that was nearly inaccessible; the cabin that burned was not served by a road.
The new boat replaces and far exceeds the capabilities of NKF&R’s current fire-rescue vessel. The 14 year-old craft began service in 2001. Powered with an in-board jet drive, the 28’ boat tops out at about 20 knots. Its firefighting capabilities are less robust; it can deliver only 250 gallons per minute from one monitor on the bow. NKF&R’s Board of Fire Commissioners hasn’t yet made a decision on the future of the current boat.
The ceremony will include brief remarks from officials including U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer whose 6th Congressional District includes NKF&R’s service area. There will be songs from the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish Tribes as well as a demonstration of the boat’s capabilities and opportunity to tour the vessel. For further information about the event, call (360)297-3619.
February 20, 2016
COOKING FIRE SCORCHES HOME; DISPLACES FOUR
Suquamish police officer, first on scene, makes big difference using fire extinguisher before crews’ arrival to slow blaze’s progress
(SUQUAMISH, Wash.) – Four young adults were displaced and their rental home sustained moderate damage after a pan of cooking oil caught fire, rapidly spreading flames up adjacent walls and into the ceiling here this evening.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R), Poulsbo Fire Department and Bainbridge Island Fire Department crews were dispatched to the older 1,000 SF manufactured home on Center Street at 9:11 p.m. Friday when one of the occupants called 9-1-1 to report the spreading pan fire. The crew from NKF&R’s Suquamish station was already on another call; an officer from Suquamish Police Department heard the incident dispatched and, within minutes, was on scene. After determining that there was no one left inside the structure, he used his portable fire extinguisher to knock down the fire. Firefighters arrived shortly thereafter to finish squelching the flames. Within fifteen minutes of the first fire unit’s arrival, the fire was completely out.
An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene, determining that the fire was accidental and cooking-related. The only person home at the time of the fire told officials that she’d been heating oil on the stovetop while preparing potatoes for frying. Looking back at the stove after turning away for just a moment, the woman found the pan ablaze. After an unsuccessful attempt to douse the flames with flour, she evacuated the structure and called for help. Cooking-related fires remain the most common cause of residential fires in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Firefighters say that the most effective way to stop a pan fire is by smothering it with a lid or cookie sheet.
Most of the three-bedroom home escaped fire or heat damage, but smoke affected the entire building. The kitchen – especially the area immediately above the stove – sustained the heaviest damage. Four cats living in the home appear to have escaped the incident without injury. The building’s owner is insured, but the occupants did not have tenant insurance. All are staying with friends and family.
There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
January 13, 2016
CLEAN AUDIT REPORT FOR NKF&R
The report is the latest in a long-string of positive reviews from auditors
(KINGSTON, Wash.) – North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) has received a clean report following the latest routine biennial examination of the local fire protection district’s financial and accountability practices. The review was conducted by officials from the Washington State Auditor’s Office (WSAO). The report, issued on December 31 and covering the WSAO’s late 2015 inspection of the district’s records for the years 2013 and 2014, marks the latest in consistently positive reports from similar tests administered by WSAO over the past twenty-plus years.
According to the agency’s website, WSAO is required by state law to “examine the financial affairs of local governments.” Frequency of audits varies based on things such as prior history and the size of the government entity. Given NKF&R’s track record of clean reports and its small size, an auditor visits only every two years. The process takes several weeks while the auditor comes to the district offices to examine a wide range of documents and records to assess practices and procedures. Cindy Moran, head of NKF&R’s administrative services, credits the district’s team for consistently achieving good marks. “The team works hard to make sure that we’ve got the right systems in place to be good stewards.” The audit process is time-consuming, she notes, but it has great value for the taxpayers as well as for district staff. Moran adds, “Not only does the public get confirmation that we’re handling their resources properly, we get the opportunity to learn from the auditors.”
The district’s audit reports are available at the WSAO web site under “Kitsap County Fire Protection District #10,” NKF&R’s legal name.
January 11, 2016
CABIN DESTROYED, MAN INJURED IN TOUGH-TO-REACH FIRE
Icy roads and unusual safety concerns also hampered firefighting efforts
(HANSVILLE, Wash.) – A 800 square-foot waterfront cabin was destroyed and an adult male was transported to a local hospital after a fire of undetermined origin early this morning on the northern-most tip of the Kitsap Peninsula. Firefighters’ initial response was delayed because there was no road access to the structure and there were warnings about responder safety associated with the address. After the scene was secured by deputies from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), twelve firefighters made their way to the cabin by trekking over ½ mile across the beach and, using water supplied by a fire boat, extinguished the fire. An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office (KCFMO) has also responded to the scene and begun the effort to find the origin and cause of the blaze.
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) and Poulsbo Fire Department (PFD) crews were called to the 40000th block of Foulweather Bluff Road at 4:55 a.m. on Monday. A neighbor reported seeing flames and hearing a man yelling from the beach below the bluff. Crews, also challenged along the way by icy roads, couldn’t attempt immediate access but instead staged near the address due to the reported threats against emergency responders. Additional information about the concerns and the deputies’ work to make the scene safe for firefighters can be obtained from KCSO.
The first officers to arrive found the building fully-involved in flames. With only a dangerously narrow and unimproved switchback trail stretching thousands of feet from the bluff to the beach, crews sought alternatives to reach the fire. A crew responded in NKF&R’s new fire-rescue boat from the Port of Kingston Marina while other firefighters used Twin Spits Road to access the beach for the long hike to the scene. PFD personnel trailered an off-road vehicle from their Poulsbo headquarters to help ferry firefighters and equipment across the long distance. Crews used sea water supplied by the marine unit to fully extinguish the fire.
The man was transported by PFD paramedics to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton with injuries that were thought to be serious but not immediately life-threatening.
This is the first emergency response for NKF&R’s new fire-rescue vessel. The 38-foot boat, funded largely by a federal Department of Homeland Security Port Security grant, was delivered in November but won’t officially enter service until later this month when crews have completed training and mechanics have finished equipping it. Three fully-trained personnel happened to be available this morning to respond with the new asset. Powered by twin 300 hp outboard motors, the vessel can make the trip from Kingston to the entrance of Hood Canal in about 25 minutes. The district plans to officially welcome the boat in a February public event.
Crews cleared the fire scene shortly after 10 a.m. There were no other injuries to firefighters or civilians. No cause has yet been determined, and it is unknown if the home is insured.
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.