12/21/2008: "Well Done Orcas Fire Department!"
Re: Fire at 585 Karen Lane, Orcas Island
To whomever it may concern:
While we were all in bed on the night of December 15th Orcas Island firefighters were saving a home in one of the most difficult situations that they could come up against.
At 11:00 PM the fire department was dispatched to “smoke in a residence with smoke alarms sounding.”
The firefighters faced 20 degree weather with snow on the ground and wind gusting to 50 mph. They encounter a driveway that is too steep and icy to drive down, forcing the firefighters to hand carry all their hose and equipment down to the house.
After many slips and falls they venture from the cold into a basement that is filled with hot black smoke. Once inside, they must find a fire they can’t see. The heat is so intense that the thermostats on the walls have melted.
After searching through the smoke and heat for the fire they realize it is either under the floor, in the walls, or even worse: both. Trained for this, the Firefighters begin removing areas of sheetrock to locate a fire that is traveling under the floor and into the walls.
They have their hoses laid out but some have already frozen solid from the extreme cold, rendering them useless. But, these firefighters knew to expect the unexpected. They had back up hoses laid out and ready and were able to use them to stop the fire before it destroyed the home.
Orcas residents should be proud of these well-trained men and women who took on a fire in some of the worst circumstances and performed like the professionals they are. WELL DONE ORCAS FIRE DEPARTMENT.
San Juan County Fire Marshal