By Jim Sharp, Fire Chief
Everyone at West Pierce Fire & Rescue has known for a long time that the US Open was going to be a big deal. Planning has been in the works for years and for the last six months it seems like it has been all consuming. Well, it appears all of the exhaustive planning paid off because the US Open was a huge success. All of the fire and EMS components fell into place just as planned. Even with exceptionally warm weather and a high patient count, all of the medical patients (including caddies and golfers) were treated rapidly without any impact to the event.
As impressive as the operations were inside the ropes, the operations taking place outside of the ropes were just as remarkable. As if the US Open wasn’t enough of a challenge, we decided to throw in a two alarm apartment fire. This is challenging enough under normal circumstances, but having close to 50 people displaced from their homes during the US Open when there are no available hotel rooms adds a new dimension to the problem. Fortunately, we were able to work with our community partners to set up a temporary shelter for everyone.
Between a hazardous materials call and a house fire in Steilacoom, things didn’t let up much throughout the week. Capping things off was the fire at Narrows Marina. Normally West Pierce Fire & Rescue wouldn’t have to worry too much about a fire in the City of Tacoma, but when the crews at Station 31 looked at the TV and saw a huge fire in the marina where we house our fireboat, Endeavor, they wasted no time. Fortunately, the Endeavor wasn’t damaged and our crews were able to assist Tacoma in getting the fire under control.
So let me recap the week; US Open, apartment fire, hazardous materials call, house fire, marina fire, and another 450+ calls. Just another day at the office for our firefighters.