Eastside Fire & Rescue extends burn ban

September 25, 2012

Continued dry conditions have led Eastside Fire & Rescue leaders to extend the regional burn ban until Oct. 20, officials announced Sept. 21.

The moratorium affects Issaquah, Sammamish and North Bend, in addition to rural fire protection districts 10 and 38. In the Issaquah area, Fire District 10 encompasses Klahanie, May Valley, Mirrormont and Preston. The burn ban was due to expire Sept. 30.

“We remain in a serious situation for the potential of a wildfire and with many resources east of the mountains, we need to take these unusual steps to limit the risk,” EFR Fire Marshal Bud Backer, a deputy chief for the agency, said in a statement.

EFR’s moratorium is in addition to a burn ban imposed by the King County fire marshal until further notice.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters head east to battle blaze

August 21, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue sent a tender truck crew east to assist fighting the Taylor Bridge Fire. Contributed by Eastside Fire & Rescue

Local firefighters made the trip across the Cascades to fight the Taylor Bridge Fire, which scorched more than 22,000 acres between Cle Elum and Ellensburg in recent days.

Eastside Fire & Rescue sent at least five local firefighters to the blaze. EFR is a party to a statewide agreement to send resources to respond to major wildfires.

Officials sent a Preston-based tender truck, used to carry water or flame retardant to remote areas, along with two career firefighters when the fire initially broke out Aug. 13, EFR Deputy Chief Bud Backer wrote in an email.

Since then, two more EFR firefighters have been sent to assist crews on the front lines. Josie Williams, EFR public information officer, is also in the area and helping to dispense information about the fire.

The state intends to reimburse the agency for firefighters’ time and any overtime costs needed to fill the firefighters’ positions back home. EFR also receives rental fees from the state for the vehicles used fighting the fire.

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Voters could decide dollars for Eastside Fire & Rescue, emergency services

August 21, 2012

The source of dollars underpinning emergency response agencies throughout King County — including Eastside Fire & Rescue — is poised to go before voters next year.

In late July, leaders from the county, cities and emergency response agencies recommended a six-year renewal for the countywide Medic One/EMS levy. The existing levy is due to expire Dec. 31, 2013, and the task force urged leaders to put the property tax measure on the ballot again.

The annual property tax levy provided almost $1.4 million for the 2012 EFR budget. The amount each agency receives is derived through a formula based on assessed values and call volumes in the agency’s service area.

“It’s very important” as a funding source, EFR Deputy Chief Bud Backer said Aug. 2.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue establishes rooftop beehive at Issaquah station

May 8, 2012

Brian Gilomen, Eastside Fire & Rescue support services technician, checks on one of the frames in which his honeybees have built a honeycomb to incubate eggs and store honey. By Greg Farrar

The buzz at a downtown Issaquah fire station is all about honeybees.

Eastside Fire & Rescue established a beehive on the roof at Station 71 next to City Hall. Station 71 is perhaps the only fire station in the state, and maybe beyond, to host a rooftop beehive.

Honeybees use assembly-line efficiency to gather pollen, and produce beeswax and honey — prizes for amateur apiarists, or beekeepers.

The focus at the Station 71 beehive is conservation, although the agency could someday sell honey from the beehive. The experiment in rooftop beekeeping is meant to lend a hand to the strained honeybee population.

EFR Chief Lee Soptich proposed the idea after reading about tenants in rooftop beehives established on Seattle skyscrapers. Intrigued, Soptich turned to Brian Gilomen, support services technician for the agency and a backyard beekeeper, to establish a rooftop beehive at Station 71.

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Voters to decide fire station replacement

January 24, 2012

Many Issaquah-area residents should receive ballots in the days ahead as Fire District 10 asks voters to approve a bond for a replacement fire station meant to improve response times.

By Dona Mokin

Officials said a fire station built in May Valley could improve response times for rural residents and alleviate the workload for Fire Station 71 along East Sunset Way in downtown Issaquah — a station responsible for serving many neighborhoods inside city limits.

In a measure put before voters in a Feb. 14 special election, the district is asking voters to approve a $5.5 million bond to fund a rebuilt Station 78 and improvements to other fire stations throughout the sprawling district. The price tag for the rebuilt station alone is expected to reach $4.5 million.

Ballots should start to reach residents in unincorporated King County near Issaquah after Jan. 25.

Fire District 10 is the Eastside Fire & Rescue partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area, plus Carnation in rural King County. The district encompasses about 130 square miles and about 28,000 people.

Officials plan to use bond dollars to relocate crews from Fire Station 78 from 16135 S.E. 113th Place near Renton to a modern facility at a more central location at Southeast May Valley Road and 207th Avenue Southeast.

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Fire destroys Tiger Mountain home, dogs perish

January 24, 2012

Flames sparked by a generator in a garage caused a blaze and destroyed a Tiger Mountain house near Issaquah.

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Voters asked to approve $5.5 million to build fire station

December 20, 2011

Officials said building a fire station in May Valley could improve response times for residents in the Issaquah area.

The issue is due to go before Fire District 10 voters early next year.

Officials plan to ask district voters to approve a $5.5 million bond in a Feb. 14 special election. Fire District 10 is the Eastside Fire & Rescue partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area.

Officials plan to use bond dollars to relocate crews from Fire Station 78 from 16135 S.E. 113th Place just outside Renton city limits to a modern facility at a more central location at Southeast May Valley Road and 207th Avenue Southeast. Such a move is meant to shift a fire station about three miles east, deeper into the district.

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City, King County changed disaster preparedeness since 9/11 attacks

September 13, 2011

The decade since 9/11 has reshaped how Issaquah and King County leaders prepare for disasters and manage the response to emergencies.

The attacks also meant increased attention — and dollars — for emergency management efforts, although local officials said the initial focus on counterterrorism sidelined plans about other dangers, such as floods and earthquakes.

“All of the sudden there was a big focus on emergency management in general. That was good news from an emergency management perspective,” said Bret Heath, city public works operations and emergency management director. “The bad news is that it shifted from all hazards to almost strictly terrorism immediately following 9/11.”

Issaquah planners focused on more common emergencies — floods, snowstorms, windstorms and the like — in the years before the attacks.

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Issaquah ceremony offers chance to reflect on 9/11

September 6, 2011

“To me, it was one of the worst days in our nation’s history,” Eastside Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Bud Backer said of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

But the way the country came together in the aftermath of those attacks can be pointed to as a source of pride, Backer added.

To mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the city of Issaquah, EFR, city police and other civic groups are joining in a public ceremony 1 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Issaquah Community Center.

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Firefighters: Generator caused blaze at Issaquah home

March 8, 2011

Fire caused $350,000 in damage, minor injuries

Firefighters said a generator sparked a blaze inside the garage at a South Cove home late last week.

The fire started at about 5:50 p.m. March 3 inside a garage in the 18200 block of Southeast 43rd Court, a neighborhood along Lake Sammamish’s southern shore. Residents in the neighborhood near Timberlake Park reported explosions and black smoke billowing into the air.

Fire roared through a South Cove house March 3 after the homeowner set up a generator in the garage. Contributed

Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters raced to extinguish the garage fire. The blaze had reached the attached house and threatened another home nearby. Firefighting units from neighboring Bellevue assisted the EFR team.

Investigators said the fire started after a portable generator inside the garage caught fire. The homeowner said he started the generator due to a weather-related power outage in the neighborhood.

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