Firefighters respond to Puget Island blaze
June 8, 2023
Last Wednesday, volunteer firefighters responded to a second structure fire in Wahkiakum County in less than a week. The first was on May 28 on Altoona/Pillar Rock Road. The second fire, unrelated, was on Puget Island.
According to Tom Merz, the incident commander for the event on Puget Island on May 31, crews were dispatched for a structure fire on South Welcome Slough at 8:36 p.m.
Personnel arrived at 26 South Welcome Slough to find a single story, single family residential structure ablaze.
Merz estimates that 20 volunteer firefighters from every department in the county showed up to battle the fire for several hours. Puget Island Fire Department arrived with two fire engines, the Cathlamet Fire Department sent a fire engine and two ambulances and the District 4 Fire Department sent an engine and two tenders. Another tender came from Grays River Fire Department, and Skamokawa sent a couple SUVs, an air trailer used for refilling air bottles for responders, and another fire engine.
After the fire was extinguished, Merz said, the crews remained on scene overnight.
There were no injuries to the homeowner or responders, but a dog reportedly perished in the fire.
"Unfortunately these incidents do happen," Merz said. "We train and hope they never do. We train hard, and everybody is working together really well, between all the departments, like a well oiled machine."
The incident on Puget Island is being investigated by a fire investigator from Cowlitz County and the Wahkiakum County Sheriff's Office.