Tulalip Bay firefighters join strike team, help control eastern Washington wildland fires

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News; Photos courtesy of Tulalip Bay Fire Department 

It’s been a long hazy month for Washingtonians as wildfire smoke contaminated our air for the majority of August. At one point, Seattle even made national headlines for having worse air quality than Beijing, which is usually covered by a thick cloud of smog throughout most of the year. Smoke from both the Oregon and B.C. wildfires continues to circulate through the state, causing dangerous conditions for people with respiratory issues as well as pregnant women, elders, children and pets. Thousands of firefighters, covering a myriad of forest fires from all areas of the state, were called upon in an effort to control the flames during peak wildland fire season. 

Among the strike teams deployed across the state was the Northwest 3 Strike Team, comprised of firefighters from Bothell, East Jefferson, Skagit, Shoreline, Arlington and Tulalip Bay Fire Departments. Tulalip Bay’s own Collin Chavez, Patrick Dineen, James Shockley, Lindsay Muller, Shawn Carlson and Jacob Shoresman were on the strike team and bravely fought three large fires in eastern Washington to protect nearby residents and businesses and help bring an end to all of the haze.

“Tulalip Bay Fire is now a part of state mobilizations,” says Tulalip Bay Firefighter, Collin Chavez. “The way that works is when there’s a big incident, a big fire that warrants the need of statewide resources, the state will send over strike teams. The team we were on was the Northwest Strike Team, they’re comprised of departments from all over, typically bigger departments. Now Tulalip’s a part of that strike team, led by Chief Hots of Getchell, and we’re pretty excited to be a part of it.”

The strike team was on duty for seventeen days, serving sixteen hours on the frontline and getting minimal sleep each night. The team setup camp at local schools, sometimes in tents on ball fields and other times inside the school’s gymnasium. 

“It’s a constant rotation but being out there is fun. You work with a lot of different departments so you get to make friendships with people,” says Firefighter Patrick Dineen. “On the Cheney fire we got to work with an inmate crew, it was crazy but really cool. These guys are actually in prison and this is a job that they get to do.”

The crew visited three sites to help suppress the fires at Silver Lake, Grand Coulee and Boyds (Kettle Falls). The reason for the fires is still under investigation but it’s safe to say that the extreme heat and dry air were among the factors.

“The first fire was in Cheney, Washington at Silver Lake. We were the initial attack team.  As initial attack you arrive and you’re the first ones to attack the fire for structure protection of homes and buildings in the vicinity of the fire,” says Chavez. “From Silver Lake we went to Grand Coulee. That was a grass valley fire, it started out very small in acreage around five hundred to one thousand and within two days it jumped all the way to 78,000 acres. It spread very quickly, there were some high winds.

“The third fire we ended up on was the Boyds fire by Kettle Falls in Colville, Washington near the Canadian border. That was a bigger incident because there were a lot more residential and commercial structures nearby. Anytime there’s more threat to homes or towns, the incident usually increases in scale. The first two fires were type three, which is a smaller incident and this one was type two. It can be a little tiring and you get very dirty but there’s a sense of satisfaction. It was really cool to have our Tulalip rigs out there on the strike team. The citizens are a big part of it, there were a lot of evacuations, but there was still a lot of people in the town making signs, stopping by to say hi and just excited to see firefighters there to protect their towns and homes.”

The strike team members returned to their respective departments now that nearly all three of the fires are under containment. The crew still remains cautious, however, ready to return to battle at any given moment. 

“The seasons not over,” warns Dineen. “It’s calmed down a little but one lightning storm or one person throwing a cigarette butt out the window, we could have a whole ‘nother one pop up. Wildland season goes until October.”

“Stay current on the burn bans,” Chavez adds. “Adhere to the burn bans, that’s a huge way to prevent any type of grass or brush fire. Don’t go shooting any fireworks off, especially where there’s dry fuels. And protect your house, it’s always a good idea to have defensible space between your residence and any debris, wood or anything that could burn. And having sprinklers set-up will definitely be helpful. Just be aware and remember how dry it is and that fires can spread quickly.”

For more information, please contact the Tulalip Bay Fire Department at (360) 659-2416.

Tulalip Bay Fire Department hosts first annual LeRoy Fryberg Sr. Pancake Breakfast


By Kalvin Valdillez

On the morning of Sunday March 25, Tulalip community members gathered at the Tulalip Bay Fire Department to enjoy the most important meal of the day while honoring an important man, to both the Tulalip community as well as the Fire Department. LeRoy Fryberg Sr. dedicated more than thirty years of his life volunteering as a firefighter for Tulalip Bay Fire Department and the Department plans on hosting a pancake breakfast every year in remembrance of the local hero.

“My grandpa’s love and passion for the Tulalip Fire Department goes all the way back to the beginning,” explains Tulalip tribal member and LeRoy’s granddaughter, Christina Parker. “As kids we used to go with our grandpa on calls. We would be driving down the road and all of a sudden, he’d tell us ‘hold on!’ He had a lead foot so we’d fly all the way to the fire department. He loved helping the community and fought hard to get dollars to start this fire department. His love for the Fire Department was unconditional, they were like his family.”

The community was treated to a delicious breakfast prepared by the firefighters. Kids and elders had a blast, taking turns spraying the fire hose. Tulalip citizens were also able to tour the fire station, play ping-pong and meet the new Fire Chief, Ryan Shaughnessy.

“LeRoy was one of the commissioners here for a long time as well as a great firefighter,” explains Chief Shaughnessy. “He helped bridge the gap between the district and the Tribe and helped us out with funding and really moved the fire department forward. That’s what we want to do today is honor him.  He still has family in the fire department; we’ve got Marlin Fryberg Jr. as one of our fire commissioners and Ross Fryberg as one of our new firefighters. This is a really exciting time for us, we’ve got all kinds of new things going on. We are a community fire department and we serve a fantastic community. It’s nice to meet community members when it’s not an emergency situation. It’s fun for us, our crew enjoys it. We’re happy to be here and happy to serve.”

“Today was the first annual LeRoy pancake community event,” says Tulalip Bay firefighter and LeRoy’s nephew, Ross Fryberg. “A couple of the guys thought it would be a good idea to commemorate him for all that he’s done for this community and I obviously wanted to be a big part of that. My uncle worked here for nearly forty years, the firehouse is actually named after him. I just want to continue that tradition, his legacy. I know that those are big shoes to fill, but I want to continue to encourage younger people to follow in his footsteps and serve within the community in which they were raised.”

According to family members in attendance, the event was the perfect way to honor LeRoy’s legacy. The Tulalip Bay Fire Department is currently working full steam ahead, making new changes within the department including the unveiling of a new logo that features the Tulalip killer whale, as well as officially changing the name of the department from Snohomish County Fire District #15 to the Tulalip Bay Fire Department and hosting more community-based events.

For further details, please contact the Tulalip Bay Fire Department at (360) 659-2416.

Santa joins firefighters in visiting children and collecting donations

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas!” rang throughout the neighborhoods of the Tulalip reservation during the weekend of December 15-17. The loud holiday expressions were from none other than Santa Clause himself, as he walked the streets of the community accompanied by the Tulalip Bay Fire Department. Every year, Santa joins the firefighters to hand out candy canes to the children, while the Fire Department collects canned foods and cash from community members who are kind enough to donate to the less fortunate during the holidays.

The yearly occurrence is known as the Tulalip Bay Fire Department Annual Santa Run and is remarkably popular within the community. Many children anxiously wait for the Christmas-decorated firetruck to pull up on their street, because they know that means Santa is near. Equally shocked and excited, the children enthusiastically greet Saint Nick to let him know what’s at the top of their Christmas list.

Santa Run is a three-day event in which Tulalip Bay Fire visits several neighborhoods on the reservation. All food and money collected by the fire department is donated to the Tulalip Food Bank located at the red church. This year’s donations totaled over 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food items as well as over six hundred dollars.

“Not everybody has food to put on the table during the holiday season,” explains Tulalip Bay Volunteer Firefighter and Santa Run Coordinator, Patrick Dinneen. “The food that we bring in, everything goes straight to the red church the day after we’re done. It’s a huge deal just to get our faces out in the community because on people’s worst days, they can call on us to make it better. We want to be familiar with our community we want people to know who we are and that we’re here for them.”

What you need to know about the Tulalip Bay Fire Department Emergency Services Levy

Tulalip Bay Fire Chief Teri Dodge, pictured third to last in back row, with a handful of the volunteer firefighters that serves the northern half of Tulalip from Priest Point area to Fire Trail Road. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tulalip Bay Fire Chief Teri Dodge, pictured third to last in back row, with a handful of the volunteer firefighters that serves the northern half of Tulalip from Priest Point area to Fire Trail Road.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – Firefighters at the Snohomish County Fire District #15, known as the Tulalip Bay Fire Department, are asking Tulalip tribal members to consider them when voting in this year’s general election, held on November 4.

The fire department, which services 12,000 people living in an area of 22 square miles on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, is seeking permanent funding by way of an Emergency Services Property Tax levy. The levy will expand the department’s services to include Basic Life Support ambulance transport and improve current emergency medical services if passed.

Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors supports the levy and has promised to match the requested $80,000 in the levy. This will provide funding for additional staff to transport patients to local area hospitals during medical emergencies.

The fire department receives 700 calls a year, with 90 percent requiring medical transport. If the levy passes, Tulalip Bay Fire Chief Teri Dodge states the funding will minimize the department’s need for private ambulance services and provide essential training for staff.

“With the addition of the Tulalip Early Learning Academy in Tulalip, the need to have our own transport has increased,” stated Dodge.

“We’ve never had a levy not pass, but we need a 60 percent majority for it to pass,” said Fire Chief Dodge.

The station currently has a rotating shift of 32 volunteer firefighters, but due to a lack of funding the department has not been able to staff for their own ambulance transport.

If the levy passes it would eliminate wait times for ambulances and cut patient costs.

According to the Tulalip Bay Firefighter’s Association, if the levy is passed, “the maximum tax increase per $200,000 assessed valuation will not exceed $50 per year or approximately $4.16 per month.”

“This levy will help us help the people who are like family to us. We have a great history with the community. This department is different than any other fire department. Our staff goes through extensive cultural training and it is reflected in the diversity of our staff. If the levy passes the cost will be a third of what it is now for our community,” said Dodge.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com

National Night Out Draws Large Crowd

National-Night-Out-2014_7

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tulalip and Marysville Police Departments partnered with Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department to host the Annual National Night Out held at the Tulalip Amphitheater at the Tulalip Resort Casino on Tuesday, August 5.

The national event brings together law enforcement, local organizations, and community members to strengthen relationships to promote crime prevention, while educating community members about crime prevention methods, such as neighborhood watches and citizen patrols.

Traditionally Tulalip Police and Marysville Police Departments have split hosting duties, each taking a turn hosting the event in their respective cities. As this year’s host Tulalip invited local service organizations such as Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue, Tulalip Bay Fire Department, Tulalip Behavioral Health, Medical Reserve Corps, Tulalip Legacy of Healing and others, to participate in the national event that celebrated its 31st anniversary this year.

National-Night-Out-2014_11

An estimated 250 community members from the Tulalip/Marysville area attended the event and were able to ask questions about crime prevention and gain crime prevention awareness resources. In addition, were two K9 unit demonstrations that enabled participants to learn how K9 officers search and find drugs.

“Last night’s National Night Out against crime was a success,” Ashlynn Danielson with the Tulalip Police Department. “Events like this one bring together community members and law enforcement to promote crime prevention. We received positive feedback from participants.”

Due to the success of this year’s National Night Out event, Tulalip Police Chief Carlos Echevarria is considering planning an annual Tulalip Community National Night Out.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com

 

 

Can you stand the heat?

Tulalip Bay Fire Department runs house fire drill

 

Tulalip Bay Frie Chief Teri Dodge uses an infrared sensor to measure the temperature of the burning room.Photo: Andrew Gobin/ Tulalip News

Tulalip Bay Frie Chief Teri Dodge uses an infrared sensor to measure the temperature of the burning room.
Photo: Andrew Gobin/ Tulalip News

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

TULALIP – A ceiling of dense smoke hung inches above our heads as Tulalip Bay Firefighters and I crouched in the burning house. Removing my glove to snap a photo from the inside, I instantly felt the intense heat that filled the room around us. Crawling towards the burning room, my hand began to burn from the heat, forcing me to put my glove back on. Sensors measured the heat in the room where the flames were to be above 600­o Fahrenheit, so Tulalip Bay Fire Chief Teri Dodge splashed the flames with the fire hose. Even through protective bunker gear I could feel the heat from the blast of steam that shot out from the doorway of the room. My air tank was out so I had to get outside.

The Tulalip Bay Fire Department burned a house slated for demolition on June 14 on Mission Beach Road, across from the cemetery. They let me join them for the drill for an exclusive look at what they do, fitting me in bunker gear (firefighter boots, pants, coat, helmet, etc.) complete with an air-pack so I could safely be in the house to observe them in action.

What good is any drill without pizza? We enjoyed a lunch of four different kinds of pizza after the first round of drills were finished. Then on to the second drill, flashovers.

Fireman Eric Brewick punches out portions of the wall for ventilation.Photo: Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Fireman Eric Berwick punches out portions of the wall for ventilation.
Photo: Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

I didn’t understand the term, but it sounded exciting. Once more I geared up to go in, though I could only stay in for one round due to safety concerns. There we were, crouched down. A second room was set on fire during lunch and had grown to a good size blaze. I couldn’t get any pictures, having to keep all of my protective gear on. Site commander Tom Cohee was my guide for this round, taking the time to explain what firefighters look for in a fire. Going in we had to crawl. The temperature in the smoke above us was upwards of 200o, much hotter than the 110o on the ground where we were. A firefighter would spray water at the ceiling, and depending on how much came down, they could gauge the temperature of the air above. As things heated up, another ceiling spray, and a cloud of steam surged downward, making visibility so low I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.

They didn’t spray again for a few minutes, letting the gasses and flames build for the flashover. Cohee explained that flashover is when the air above, which is filled with gasses from things burning, gets so hot that they catch fire and flash, allowing flames to extend out of the burning room, the length of the house ceiling. No sooner had he explained than a flame whipped across the ceiling, rolling down the back wall I was leaning on. A few ceiling sprays cooled the air enough to contain the flashover. I exited with the team. I was heating up in all the gear, but I didn’t realize how hot it actually was in the house. Once outside, I removed my gloves and grabbed my helmet. That was a mistake. I couldn’t touch it any more than I could touch a skillet.

I have a new appreciation for the work firefighters do.

“We train this way because we have to,” said Chief Dodge. “In a real fire, we can’t choose or control the situation we walk into. So here, we have to practice multiple scenarios. Even though it’s practice, these drills are as dangerous as a real house fire.”

Tulalip Bay Fire Department is committed to the Tulalip community. In addition to responding to emergency calls, they can be found handing out fire safety information and tips at different events, like the health fair at the Tulalip Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic. If you see them out in the community, be sure to say hi.

 

Andrew Gobin: 360- 716-4188; agobin@tulalipnews.com

Tulalip Bay Fire conducts an airlift drill

Tulalip Bay Fire Department Airlift Drill

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Bay Fire Department is updating emergency plans, which includes finding landing zones for patients needing helicopter transport. On Wednesday, May 7, TBFD coordinated an airlift drill with Airlift Northwest, a Med-Evac company that operates in Snohomish County. In addition to finding suitable landing zones accessible to various housing developments, TBFD firefighters reviewed airlift protocols and safety procedures.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. the Airlift Northwest Med-Evac helicopter landed in the field next to the Tulalip health clinic, the old Boom City site. Firefighters set up the landing zone prior to the arrival of the Med-Evac. When the helicopter had landed, the emergency response team from Airlift Northwest reviewed some landing procedures, highlighting what TBFD did well, and what to keep in mind for emergency situations. Airlift Northwest also discussed how landing procedures might vary depending on time of day, weather conditions, the patient condition, and status of a landing zone. They then demonstrated how to properly load a patient into the helicopter.

TBFD has selected and defined five landing zones around the reservation, near neighborhoods and areas with higher population densities. In addition to identifying landing zones, they have developed a protocol for contingent landing zones. For example, the baseball field at the tribal center is a landing zone, but it could be occupied for a game or other event at any time. Therefor the contingent landing zone is the old Boom City site, where the drill was executed. They have also developed a protocol for securing on-scene landing zones, where a Med-Evac chopper could land in a suitable location other than one of the designated landing zones.

The commotion inevitably drew some attention from vehicles passing by, with many stopping to observe what was going on.

Tulalip Firefighter Nikolay Litvinchuk being loaded into a Med-Evac chopper  Photo: Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Tulalip Firefighter Nikolay Litvinchuk being loaded into a Med-Evac chopper Photo: Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

 

Tulalip Bay Fire Department Airlift Drill Tulalip Bay Fire Department Airlift Drill Tulalip Bay Fire Department Airlift Drill Tulalip Bay Fire Department Airlift Drill Tulalip Bay Fire Department Airlift Drill Tulalip Bay Fire Department Airlift Drill Tulalip Bay Fire Department Airlift Drill Tulalip Bay Fire Department Airlift Drill

 

 

Andrew Gobin is a reporter with the See-Yaht-Sub, a publication of the Tulalip Tribes Communications Department.
Email: agobin@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov
Phone: (360) 716.4188

Fire destroys Sunny Shores garage and car on the Tulalip Indian Reservation

Fire Crews spray foam to smother accelerants. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Fire Crews spray foam to smother accelerants. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

Tulalip – Tulalip Bay, Stanwood, Getchell, and North County fire departments responded to a garage fire at Sunny Shores around 12:30 this afternoon. Firecrews arrived to find the structure fully engulfed in flames.

With limited water, fire crews were able to extinguish the fire, but not until the structure was almost completely gone. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

With limited water, fire crews were able to extinguish the fire, but not until the structure was almost completely gone. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

“There was nothing left of the roof, the walls were almost completely gone, the metal door had melted down, and the car was gone,” said Tulalip Bay Fire Chief Teri Dodge.

Water tenders brought water down the one-lane access road, because there are no hydrants in the area. After extinguishing the fire, crews sprayed foam on the scorched remains to prevent accelerants from reigniting the blaze.

Dodge explained, “Garage fires tend to burn very quickly. Once the fire breaches the roof or the walls, the oxygen feeds it. Most garages have accelerants inside as well, which make garage fires that much more devastating.”

In addition to limited access and limited water, there was a downed power line that crews had to work around until  Snohomish County PUD was able to cut power to the line.

The garage burned completely to the ground, leaving only the floor and what remained of the vehicle inside.

Firemen test the burnt out floor to reach the remains of the vehicle.

Firemen test the burnt out floor to reach the remains of the vehicle. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip news

The fire was discovered by homeowner Heidi Atterson who then called 911. Her husband, Steve Atterson, arrived on scene shortly there after. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, though it is suspected to have began as an electrical fire.

Ruins of garage fire caked with extinguishing foam.

Ruins of garage fire caked with extinguishing foam. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Andrew Gobin is a reporter with the See-Yaht-Sub, a publication of the Tulalip Tribes Communications Department.
Email: agobin@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov
Phone: (360) 716.4188

Santa and Sirens

Tulalip Bay Fire Dept. annual Santa Run and food drive

 

Santa and the family of Christina Leea singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Santa and the family of Christina Leea singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Article and photos by Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Tulalip Bay Fire Department brought a little Christmas cheer to the neighborhoods of Tulalip. A parade of the department’s two fire engines and ambulance had Santa riding along on an engine, jumping off to pass out hugs and candy canes to kids from one to ninety-two, all the while trumpeting horns and blasting sirens to let people know that Santa had come to town.

Kids and their families lined the streets on December 14th and 15th as Santa rolled through with his firefighting elves. The children’s faces lit up as soon as they saw him, or maybe that was from all the lights decorating the fire engines. A few times Santa and his elves joined families for a chorus of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Passing neighborhood traffic didn’t seem to mind Santa parading down the street, many times passing cars stopped to join the holiday festivities.

The Holiday Santa run started at 5pm each day and lasted five hours, all the while collecting food and monetary donations for the Tulalip Food Bank. Santa and his elves filled the ambulance with donations over the course of the weekend.

There are many photos of Santa visiting children and their families. To view them please visit tulalipnews.com, or see our new facebook page; search Tulalip News.