SEASIDE Seaside Fire and Rescue experienced a record-setting year in 2012, as it responded to 961 calls ranging from three-alarm fires to false alarms.
In an annual report presented by fire Chief Joey Daniels to the Seaside City Council Monday night, Daniels said the department had a 13 percent increase in calls compared to 2011. The community also suffered a considerable loss in property damage, Daniels noted.
Daniels called 2012 challenging.
A windstorm destroyed a fire truck in November when a tree fell on it. A three-alarm fire caused $1 million of damage and destroyed four downtown buildings. Three separate fires occurred in one night, including a fire that destroyed the North Coast Land Conservancy office, at a loss estimated at $400,000.
Another fire that started in a garage and spread to a home east of the U.S. Highway 26/101 junction burned four classic cars, as well as the garage. Damage was estimated at $300,000. Multiple intentional fires occurred at a house and garage north of Seaside High School.
In addition to fires, fire department paramedics also had their challenges, noted Chris Dugan, the departments division chief.
An intricate rescue on Sugar Loaf Mountain involved spending more than an hour extricating a driver from a logging company yarder, which became twisted when it tipped over. Although seriously injured, the driver lived.
Another rescue involved lifting a 16-year-old boy who had fallen from the top of Thompson Creek Falls back to the top of the falls. The boys lungs started filling with blood, requiring treatment by Seaside paramedics. He was lifted to the top of the cliff by the Clatsop County High Angle Rescue Team.
The following week, he rode his skateboard to the fire department to thank us, Dugan said.
In all, the department responded to 49 fires, 711 rescue and emergency medical service calls, 38 incidents involving hazardous materials, five severe weather/natural disaster problems and 80 false alarms, among others.
The department also experienced staff changes. Chief Dale Kamrath retired after five years in Seaside, and Daniels was promoted from training officer to chief. In October, Capt. David Rankin came on as training and safety officer.
The department also continued to conduct extensive training. Volunteers earned 25 certifications in areas ranging from the first rank of firefighter to hazmat operations.
The departments 40 volunteers participated in a total of 3,991 hours of drills during 2012, according to the annual report. They provided backup or mutual aid for other fire departments 17 times and received assistance in 34 instances.
Firefighters also are involved in community activities, including presentations at schools and community fundraisers and conducting training for the Community Emergency Response Team. The citys lifeguards are supervised by the fire department, as well.
In other business, the council:
Appointed former City Councilor Tim Tolan to the Seaside Convention and Civic Center Commission;
Recommended the approval of a liquor license application by the Firehouse Grill.