Washington Street apartment fire shows Craig Fire/Rescue strengths, needs

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— Talk at the Craig Rural Fire Protection District meeting Thursday evening quickly turned to the recent Washington Street apartment fire.

"In Denver, there would have been more than 50 firefighters on that fire, and we fought it with 15 people," Deputy Fire Chief Bill Johnston said. "I'm proud of our people, and the work they did."

Many firefighters went through four bottles of oxygen during the fire, with some using six to eight bottles, he said.

A flair up caused firefighters to scramble off the roof, and two chainsaws left behind were lost to the flames.

One firefighter was transported to The Memorial Hospital for dehydration and has since been cleared to return to duty.

The board commended the department on its actions fighting the fire and thanked everyone who helped support the firefighters.

The firefighters and Board of Directors both agreed this is exactly the type of fire they had in mind when the department ordered the new aerial platform truck.

The new truck would have had firefighters battling the roof blaze from the platform and not from the roof, Johnston said.

The new truck will have its cab and chassis work completed this week, and the truck will be shipped to Germany for installation of the aerial platform. That process is expected to take a couple of months to complete, Johnston said.

During last week's apartment fire, Engine 1 quit pumping water and was taken out of service for repairs. A loaner four-wheel-drive engine will be in place at Craig Fire/Rescue until the department's engine is returned.

The board received notification Tuesday that only one firefighter application had been returned to the department during this year's recruitment of rookies.

A dozen applications were handed out to interested individuals, and the deadline for returning applications is Oct. 1.

In other business, the board agreed to purchase two cell phones for Fire Department captains to augment the four phones approved for the department's engines at the last board meeting.

Also approved was $3,315 to send the department's four rookies to the 21st annual Firefighters Academy for training Oct. 19 to 21.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext.207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com

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