Snohomish has 3-acre local brush fire
A Snohomish Fire District 4 firefighter sprays onto the three-acre fire along Ludwig Road on Thursday, Sept. 28.
SNOHOMISH — According to Fire District 4 Chief Ron Simmons, it all began with a parachute.
Multiple fires on Thursday, Sept. 28 west of Highway 9 caused a power outage to 6,000 Snohomish PUD customers.
“At about 1 o’clock we got dispatched for a report of a
parachuter down at Marsh (Road) and Highway 9,” but it was just the parachure, Simmons told the Tribune Friday, Sept. 29. “That parachute ended up landing just west of the Bonneville substation in some trees, but for whatever reason that triggered everything else that happened.”
Fire officials said it was chaos, but they were able to eventually control the chaos as multiple fires and alarms were triggered
at the site of the Bonneville substation. A sideshow situation happened at Snohomish High School.
The power loss caused a generator to kick on at Snohomish High School’s D Building. It hadn’t been used for a while and blue smoke crept into the building. Someone pulled the fire alarm to evacuate the school.
Simmons said on Friday morning that he was hearing that potentially a PUD line ignited some brush near trees, there was an electrical arc that energized Comcast telephone lines, which triggered the transformers to blow.
The chain reaction of electrical activity caused multiple brush fires, which Simmons and his fire crews raced to respond to, seeing that the parachute incident was no longer their focus.
“It transmitted surges in town, caused the transformers to blow, and of course a lot of smoke in the area,” Simmons continued. “We had multiple brush fires up and down Ludwig Road. When we got to the scene, we called for extra help.”
Someone pulling the fire alarm at Snohomish High triggered a full response from a number of other fire outfits. Seattle TV media went into a frenzy thinking the high school was on fire.
The other fire units helped, with trucks from the “city of Everett and Clearview (Fire District 7) responding to the high school, which was great, because we were still fighting the brush fires,” Simmons
Simmons said the fires on Highway 9 and Ludwig Road were not easy to tackle, but with the help of other teams and a squad of Bonneville guys, who also had a water truck on hand and already had feet on the ground, it was a concerted effort.
“It was quite chaotic because we’re talking almost a mile of driveway of fires,” Simmons said. “We had live wires down, fires in people’s landscaping, it was three and half hours of chaos but the crews did great and the Seattle media ... they had a lot of questions and assumptions. Nobody got hurt, and the guys were great.”
Simmons said they got another call in the midst of all the fires and electrical issues for an unrelated medical aid, but after the chaotic
Thursday drew to a close, Simmons believed the biggest contributing factor was the hot weather.
A medical aid call in the neighborhood happened
and a fire truck and aid car coincidentally were parked in front of the house that called.
“Nobody was expecting that heat wave,” Simmons said. “We were a little overwhelmed from all that and the heat of the day, so it was nice to have all that mutual aid so my guys could take breaks and re-hydrate if they needed. It was great to have all that extra help.”
Other fire responders included: Everett, Lake Stevens, Snohomish Fire District 7, Getchell, Gold Bar, Monroe, Mill Creek and Marysville.
PUD crews worked for several hours Thursday and Friday to restore power.
Doug Ramsay contributed reporting
Updated Oct. 4, 2017:
This story's headline was updated with new information
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