EFR’s one ladder truck might change stations

May 13, 2014

By Peter Clark

NEW — 6 a.m. May 13, 2014

Eastside Fire & Rescue might move its one ladder truck from the Issaquah Highlands Station to another.

Deputy Chief of Operations Greg Tryon said the move of the truck, known as Ladder 73, from Fire Station 73, 1280 N.E. Park Drive, possibly down into the valley at Fire Station 72 arose because of growth in the area.

“The ladder is probably not the single best unit for the response area,” Tryon said. “With the design of the community with its narrow streets and multiple residential structures, the ladder just doesn’t fit in those areas.”

By Greg Farrar Cody Ramstad, a firefighter with Eastside Fire & Rescue Ladder 73, stands in his basket high above the Issaquah Community Center lawn, spraying water over hundreds of gleeful youngsters and parents in 2011 during the city Parks & Recreation Department’s annual Splash Day.

By Greg Farrar
Cody Ramstad, a firefighter with Eastside Fire & Rescue Ladder 73, stands in his basket high above the Issaquah Community Center lawn, spraying water over hundreds of gleeful youngsters and parents in 2011 during the city Parks & Recreation Department’s annual Splash Day.

He said EFR typically prefers the truck arrive second or third on a scene to assist after initial responders. Since the regional organization houses Ladder 73 near a growing area, many times it responds first. Navigating the 68,000-pound truck through urbanizing streets has turned into a growing problem.

“It fit really well in this current station until everything grew up around it,” Tryon said. “Now, we have increased pedestrian and road traffic. It just isn’t the ideal first arriving unit in this area.”

The EFR board of directors has already begun discussing the move. Issaquah City Councilwoman and EFR board member Mary Lou Pauly said the administrators explained the reasons for the action well.

“The board was pretty receptive,” Pauly said. “It understood that it was an operational change. There were some questions about response time, but the board was really happy with the explanations that were given.”

Tryon said moving the truck down to 1575 N.W. Maple St. would optimize response times for the region as a whole.

“The Maple Street station was always designed as an urban station — it doesn’t have the setbacks as the one in the highlands,” Tryon said. “For us, what we’re really focusing on is having a quick and responsive unit that can access these tight areas with the ladder truck close behind.”

He said the board would make the decision soon and if the truck is moved, it would happen by September.

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