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Six firefighters ready for duty
Families bursting with pride packed into the King County Fire District 28/Enumclaw Fire Department Commissioner’s July 5 meeting at the Enumclaw station house to watch Maryn Otto, Kevin Madill, Josh Hettick, Steven Lentz, Patrick Kelly and Lance Hardersen be sworn into full-time fire fighting duty.
“Now we will have an engine company and aid car on duty 24/7,” Commissioner Dave Hannity told the crowd as he welcomed the latest hires.
In February, the fire commissioners approved hiring three full-time firefighters.
According to Fire Chief Joe Clow, the department was recently awarded a two-year Federal Emergency Management Agency Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant for meeting safety standards for fire fighting. The grant will cover 100 percent of the wages and benefits for four full-time firefighters, which enabled the commissioners to expand its hiring to six.
Clow said the additions mean an aid unit and ambulance every day for the community.
The six firefighters pinned July 5 bring the department to 15 full-time firefighters and 30 volunteers.
Clow said he plans to continue developing the volunteer firefighter base to work with the career firefighters as well.
“It’s been a very exciting time and a very productive time,” he said. “Bigger and better times are in our future.”
That future was a topic of discussion at the meeting as Clow introduced the first draft of a feasibility study to look into remodeling the current station on Wells Street or locate land and build a new station on a site inside the city limits. A workshop with more discussion was to take place Tuesday.
The department’s current location is tight for firefighters and equipment and the site – smaller than an acre – offers little space for expansion. The department’s other stations, in Cumberland and at 43404 212th Ave. S.E., are also at capacity. The department is in the process of adding a mobile home to the Cumberland station to house firefighters. The department provides emergency services to the city of Enumclaw as well as the surrounding Plateau with a combined population of more than 21,000 people in an area of about 50 square miles.
“The service demands and customer needs don’t go away because the economy is sluggish,” Clow said.
Affordable land prices are pushing the discussion.
A real estate property search showed three 5-acre parcels in the city and a handful of pieces of land slightly larger than 2 acres.
The presentation included possible plans for a station that would include a training facility. Firefighters currently go to North Bend or Seattle for training.
It also makes sense, Clow said, to look at partnering with other public safety agencies like police and state patrol.