State resources short so man buys his own fire engine

by: Essex Porter Updated:

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Yesterday, Alex Thomason drove home with the firetruck he just bought for $5,000 from Skagit County Fire District 6.

Now it's on fire watch in the town of Pateros.
 
“We just heard from the state they didn't have any other resources so I said well, let's go get a firetruck and use it to protect our homes,” Thomason told us by phone
 
There are 3,000 firefighters battling wildfires, but need is great.
 
Peter Goldmark runs the Department of Natural Resources.
 
“We're running out of resources, we're engaged with the National Guard. We're thinking about regular Army, just to have enough staff to put the fire out and protect people,” Goldmark said
 
Troops from Joint Base Lewis McChord are expected to join the fight in the next few days
 
The Legislature gave DNR roughly $42 million to battle fires, almost all the money it wanted for that purpose.
 
But it cost $10 million alone to fight the 6,000 acre Blue Creek fire near Walla Walla earlier this year.
 
Now 390,000 acres are on fire and there is no word yet on how much that will cost.
 
“We have a very vicious fire season, this year,” Goldmark said.
 
Fire devastated Pateros last year, this year neighbors have their own firetruck, so they can protect themselves.
 
“Some guys have run engines before,” Thomason said. “We can operate hoses, we can understand water, we understand pressure …we have training in helping people and look there's a fire, we're going to at least save one or two houses.”
 
Gov. Jay Inslee has requested a Federal Emergency Declaration to bring additional dollars and resources to help with the wildfires.
 
Right now, FEMA is already sending some federal funds to the state.
 
Those dollars will pay 75 percent of the cost of fighting the fires, but do not cover structures or individual assistance.