Concern Over Fire Response In Dryden, Peshastin, Blewett Pass
There's concern about a lack of firefighting ability in the Chelan County area of Dryden and Peshastin along with Blewett Pass.
A meeting was held last Thursday at the Dryden Fire Station where Chelan County Fire District 6 Chief Andy Lee gave a presentation.
County Commissioner Shon Smith attended the meeting, and says Lee stressed that there's an acute shortage of volunteers.
"He said, 'we went to almost 700 callouts last year, and the same six guys showed up,'" said Smith.
Smith made the comment during a public discussion with fellow Chelan County Commissioners Monday morning.
A release from Fire District 6 said there were a total of 50 volunteers for the area.
Smith said there's a threat of fire insurance cancellations for residents because of the slow response times by the undermanned volunteer fire department.
There are three fire stations in the area, one each in Dryden and Peshastin to cover the area between Cashmere and Leavenworth, and one for the Blewett Pass area.
Smith said the average time of getting volunteers to the fire station is 12 minutes with the average time to reach a fire being another 12-14 minutes.
"Somethings going to have to give in that Cashmere to lower Leavenworth, all the way up Blewett Pass, all the way up every canyon, in order to make that response time shorter, so that we don't have people losing insurance," Smith said. "It's going to be a big problem."
Smith mentioned that he received a letter last Friday from his insurance company informing him that his insurance was being cancelled.
Chelan County Fire District 6 owns a field next to the Dryden fire station. Smith said the three fire commissioners for the area and Chief Lee would be collaborating on plans for a bond or levy to go before voters that would finance a new fire station on the field to serve as a central dispatch for that area.
There hasn't been a bond or levy to finance firefighting efforts in District 6 since 1955.
Smith said the county would likely need to get involved in assisting the district to get a package before voters.