09/02/2010: "Slow Day For TV News"
( KIRO 7 News crew shooting a story in FH )
KIRO TV sent a film crew to Friday Harbor on Wednesday (09-01-10) to do a story about FH Fire Chief Vern Long not wearing full firefighting gear, and not ensuring firefighters under his supervision were following standard operational procedures when a ”Car Headed For Wrecking Yard Catches Fire”, brought the FHFD, led by Chief Long, to the scene in downtown FH last month.
Chief Long and a fire truck had arrived on scene to work on the fire after citizens had used small fire extinguishers on it, but the fire had started up again, and at one point Long had stepped behind one of the firefighters and helped support a small hose being used on the auto fire. Long was not wearing all of the gear he would normally be wearing when he grabbed the hose.
That was a problem. Another problem was the firefighters -or at least one them- were not wearing breathing apparatus (small tanks on their backs that supply air and keep out smoke and potentially dangers fumes). That too was a problem, and as Chief, Long is being held responsible for the actions and his lack of oversight.
This is not the first time a firefighter has stepped forward to help put out a car fire, and was not following strict safety regulations.
In June of 2005 there was an auto fire next to the gas pumps at the Little Store (See: "What A Place For A Fire!!" ), and like the subject fire. the first responders at that time were citizens who stepped forward and fought the fire until firefighters came on scene. One of those lending a hand was Fire Chief (and later the SJC Fire Marshal) Bob Lowe, who had just happened to have been driving by at the time, and stopped to help fight the fire, but was not officially responding as a firefighter. Folks were happy that Lowe did not first stop and suit up, but moved quickly to help.
Problem for Long was he was on duty. It has made all the difference for Chief Long, who is now on leave -at least for a few days. (The aftermath of this story)