TONIGHT: North Highline Fire District public hearing

October 17th, 2016 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news No Comments »

From the North Highline Fire District, a public hearing happening tonight (Monday, October 17th):


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the North Highline Fire District Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing to:

Review revenue sources for the District’s 2017 expense budget including property taxes and possible increases in property tax revenues per RCW 84.55.120, and

Review and establish the Fire District’s benefit charge to be imposed in 2017, per RCW 52.18.060(2).

Fire Station 18
1243 SW 112th Street
Seattle, WA 98146
October 17, 2016 at 7 pm

The benefit charge is explained on the NHFD website.

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How would Seattle annexation affect the North Highline Fire District?

May 18th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Annexation, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 5 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

While it’s still a year and a half until the earliest date that residents of unincorporated North Highline would vote on Seattle annexation, a deadline is near:

The North Highline Fire District Board of Commissioners has two weeks to write up its position on the proposed annexation for the King County Boundary Review Board, whose public hearing starts two weeks after that.

But first, the board wants to make sure it has all the information it needs to take a stand. Some of it came during an extensive Q&A during the board’s Monday night meeting, with Seattle city and King County reps in attendance, but the board also is awaiting written answers to some key questions. By meeting’s end, the Seattle reps promised to speed it up, though NHFD lawyer Brian Snure observed that it would have been better if this information had all been in months earlier.

No way to go back in time. So here’s what did happen Monday night.

Guests for the discussion, which took up most of the public portion of the meeting (which ended with a closed-door session), were Seattle’s longtime annexation point person Kenny Pittman, Seattle Fire Department Assistant Chief of Operations Jay Hagen, and Karen Freeman from the King County Executive’s Office.

Existing Seattle Fire stations are well positioned to cover the NH area, Chief Hagen said, meeting the 4-minute response standard. “We try to get a fire engine to the emergency alarm location within 4 minutes, 90 percent of the time.” So if NH Engine 18 is busy, what does that do to response times? It would go up to 5 minutes, 10 seconds, but that’s still better than the service SE Seattle gets, he said. “In all four corners of the city, the coverage would be better here than other areas of Seattle.”

Commissioner Liz Giba asked what response time meant. “First we have to process the call – CPT is time from when the phone rings at public-safety answering point, they process the call, look for a geocoded address on the map, match to computer on fire apparatus, and send alarm to the station. When bell rings at station, we end answering time and start turnout time – until the wheels roll over threshold of station door. Then we have response time, the actual driving time to the incident. … We would ask them to gear up quicker for an aid (medical) response than for a structure fire response – an extra 20 seconds or so, about 80 seconds.”

That’s engine response, he explained. For ladder-truck response – West Seattle has only one, Ladder 11 at Station 32 in The Junction. But that’s about equidistant for what NH would get right now. “In a perfect world we’d like to rearrange things and have a ladder truck closer. … Those are the longer apparatus and the (ones) we use in Seattle are tillered, with asteering wheel on the back set of wheels … they do search and rescue, forcible entry, ventilation … they’re dedicated to certain functions on the fire ground. In Seattle we have about a 3 to 1 ratio, engines to ladders. If annexation occurs, the engine here would be the 34th engine in Seattle, and we have 11 ladder trucks spread around the city.”

SFD has a 4-platoon system, 4 groups of firefighters who relieve each other sequentially, while NH has a three-platoon system. sends two battalion chiefs to structure fires for command and control – “they’re the ones you might see with radios giving orders, or they might join firefighters inside the structure.” Then there’s Deputy 1 who has command over the entire city. All companies are staffed with four personnel at all times.

Medic unit coverage: Seattle has BLS (basic life support) – the EMT level of care, closest to the alarm location and they can get there and decide whether ALS (advanced life support) is needed or can they handle it on their own? “They pave the way to success by doing things (to prepare for) the ALS unit.” All Seattle firefighters are EMTs. The paramedics in King County, meantime, “all come from the same school … all highly regarded.” Last year, he said, they had a 62.5% cardiac-arrest survival rate. They get international visitors – one from the UK, for example, said that where he was from, they had a 12 percent survival rate. SFD is the “rolling classroom for Medic One.” He says they already provide a good level of service for ALS. But – Medic 4, he noted, is moving to downtown Burien this summer, close to NH. Seattle’s Medic 32 is at Station 37 (West Seattle’s southernmost station) during the rebuild of Station 32. “The honest truth is, when we go back to our normal condition, the medic unit is not as close as the (one) that serves this area – we’d have to do some work to make that an improvement.” They don’t have plans “developed” yet.

In response to Giba’s question, Hagen noted that the new Station 32 in the West Seattle Junction will be finished in about a year. He also noted that this area is “rich in need” – 1,000 ALS alarm in the past year. If you carved the same acreage from, say, West Seattle’s Admiral District, he said, that only generated 209 alarms in the past year.

Hagen said he thinks “there’s a great company here … at face value, not a lot would change. What’s notable to me is the depth and breadth of services that the city of Seattle could bring to bear … larger organization, more follow-on services, I think that would be noteworthy.” Comissioner Julie Hiatt asked about follow-on examples. “Technical rescue services, like trench rescue,” Hagen began. (A unit is positioned in SODO, 4th and Horton.)

North Highline (and Burien) Chief Mike Marrs said those services are provided through Zone 3 responses, any station out of King County. It would come out of on-duty firefighters as opposed to specialty crew members who are always on.

What if the specialists are busy? Giba asked. If it’s going to be more than 2 hours before they are, they have callbacks to bring personnel in. “Every Seattle firefighter is trained to the awareness of (assessing) operational level,” he said, how to call for additional resources, for example. They also could call for mutual aid if need be, Hagen said – Seattle is zone 5, South/West suburbs are zone 3.

Hiatt asked for an example. So Hagen spelled out a trench-rescue scenario, a “low priority, high impact, high risk type of emergency” that might happen every six weeks or so. If one is already in progress and a second one is called, the first-arriving firefighters know what to do – to stabilize the situation, waiting for more advanced resources to arrive. “Chances are we might do more than one of those things at once, reinstate our backup team AND call for mutual aid.”

Pittman then spoke. He said the average tax bill would go down in NH if annexed. Seattle “really does have a low tax rate because we have a huge assessed value and state law limits how much (they can charge). … Residents in this area are affected by special-purpose districts, and NHFD is a special-purpose district. If annexed … the only thing that would exist for Highline is if they passed a bond that would stay with property owners until paid off.”

“How about financing for the fire services?” Pittman’s reply: The city budgets overall for everything.

He mentioned the state sales tax that would be partly funneled to Seattle – $7.75 million a year for a 6-year period, while the previous version was $5 million for 10 years – without costing anyone anything more.

His spreadsheet showed that annual taxes on an average NH property would go down about $200 a year – dropping from $3,239 to $3,011.

Asked about the recently passed Move Seattle transportation levy, Pittman replied incorrectly that it wasn’t a property tax – but it is (“The $930 million levy will be paid for through a property tax that will cost the median Seattle household (valued at $450,000) about $275 per year, for nine years.”)

He was asked about school districts. This area would remain in the Highline Public Schools system unless something happened to change that in the future. The school districts would have to go to the Educational Service District to ake a change – “there are no plans to do that, and no discussions to my knowledge (about that).”

Back to fire-related matters. He mentioned that firefighters would retain their seniority and benefits – “the two unions would have some discussion among themselves” about who goes where,” and the Fire Departments also would have some details to work out, if there were any layoffs. But again, they’d need more firefighters than they have now. What about administrative staff? “We’re looking into that,” said Pittman.

What about rank? asked Giba. Pittman said that people would be evaluated on an individual basis to see if they met the qualifications for the Seattle version of the title they hold in NH. Hagen elaborated, “I called the president of Local 27 this morning, Kenny Stewart, to say we’d be having some of these discussions – he’s in pretty close communication with NH leadership, some of this stuff hasn’t been worked out yet.” They’d look at resumes, training, etc. Hiatt wondered if there are set criteria for evaluation. Local 27 VP Jeff Miller was in the room and said “That all gets worked out in union negotiations … as a union we wouldn’t be doing any evaluating but we’d be advocating for people to keep their seniority,” etc.

“It’s a pretty well-documented body of knowledge,” Hagen added.

Hiatt asked him for elaboration on administrative staff.

“They’re not necessarily at the fire stations – we have them at the training facility, Harborview, headquarters – I’m going to guess we have in the 50s, admin employees who are in Local 17.” Hagen said he couldn’t commit to what the situation would be under annexation – there’s one administrative staffer at the NHFD HQ – “I think we’d find a place for that person to go.”

What changes would people see in this building?

Pittman didn’t think many, but acknowledged that the building is used a lot for community meetings, so that would be worked out. The vehicles would be the biggest change.

No plans for station relocation? asked commissioner Dominic Barrera.

“Not at this time,” said Pittman. If there was a need to relocate the building, he added, it would probably be a little further north and east, “but there are no plans for that, let me be real clear.”

The real question, he said, is whether the plans would continue for a station in the potentially to-be-annexed area, “and there are no plans to have no station here” – he pointed out that this station would help service parts of West Seattle too.

“Is there any way you can give us an assurance there will always be a station in area Y?” asked Hiatt.

“An iron-clad guarantee? … It wouldn’t make sense to not have one in this area,” said Hagen.

“But it doesn’t make sense to not have one in Arbor Heights,” Hiatt pressed (an area annexed to Seattle in xxx). “… We wouldn’t want to be Arbor Heights.”

What about mutual-aid agreements if north Burien suddenly was without the NH fire station? Seattle already has several, said Hagen.

Do you feel a responsibility to north Burien? pressed Hiatt, saying it would leave “a hole.”

The Boundary Review Board would look at “doing no harm,” replied Pittman. He also said he had been “having conversations with Chief (Mike) Marrs … we take it very seriously.”

Hagen mentioned Seattle’s remodeling of fire stations – 30 of 33 done – “we would be making (upgrades) to this station,” including a decontamination area. “We’ve made a commitment to storing our protetive ensemble in a cimte-clintrolled system … with airflow through … the gear degrades a lot more quickly if we don’t take care of it. So we’ve made a commitment to appropriate gear storage facilities.” He said they also are committed to seat belts, strapping things down in cabs, cancer and heart attack. They also have put a functional gym system in every fire station, for health and wellness. They have facilities to capture the “diesel soot” as engines come in and out. “And on sleeping arrangements, we have gone to 1 person per room.”

Mutual aid is not automatic right now for Seattle, Hagen acknowledged, but it could be.

That surfaced concerns about North Burien losing coverage if the remaining portion of North Highline became part of Seattle. So – How would Burien get pre-approved for (automatic) Seattle mutual aid? Hagen said the county’s 50 fire chiefs meet regularly, and Seattle’s new Chief Harold Scoggins “is very comfortable operating in that environment … I see it as a trend we’re moving toward in this county.”

“Wouldn’t being the closest to Arbor Heights put an additional strain on this station?” asked Barbara Dobkin of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council.

Hagen pointed out that “if we remove the political boundary,” then Engine 26 (South Park) and Engine 11 (Highland Park) would take part of what’s currently the North Highline area, so this station wouldn’t necessarily be serving everything it does AND more.

Pittman then picked up the timeline. The Boundary Review Board takes this up in June. Either a November 2017 or November 2018 election could follow. The former would result in annexation taking effect in January 2019, after a “full-blown budget process with the City Council.” Or, if a 2018 vote, then it would take effect in January 2020. “So there’s time to work out these issues.”

“So shouldn’t people have answers to these questions before they vote?” asked Giba.

Yes, and that’s what they’re working on now, said Hagen and Pittman. Two to three weeks away.

“We have to take a position and develop a brief on annexation and whether we support it by May 27th,” before the Boundary Review Board meeting, said the NHFD board’s lawyer. Without all the answers, it would be difficult for them to support it. So, the lawyer said, why do you have to have a Boundary Review Board hearing this soon for a November 2017 annexation vote?

Because they already asked for a one-year extension,and the main issue – the tax credit – has been addressed, Pittman said.

Anything you’d like to add? Giba asked Freeman.

No, she replied, but she’d answer questions.

First question – is King County financially assisting any government over these annexed areas? No, she said. Part of why we’re supporting annexations is because we (are low on money).

What about finding North Burien a place to build a fire station? Freeman recapped some past discussions including “an agreement that sunsetted in 2012” – the year by which the county had envisioned all the annexations would be complete. “We’re well past that date and we’re not done.” Three “islands” are claimed by Renton, there’s one outside Federal Way, there’s this one, and “63 smaller islands” elsewhere in the county.

“So you’re not going to find a parcel for North Burien (fire station) if the annexation goes through?” Hiatt asked.

“That’s correct,” said Freeman.

What would happen to the community if annexation was voted in, before it took effect? Dobkin asked.

We’d continue to serve it as best we can, said Freeman, adding that the county is looking at a “significant budget shortfall” in the next biennium. And “service continues to degrade.”

Pittman pointed out that it would only be a year between the vote and annexation taking effect.

Hiatt wondered if medic mutual aid could be available out of Burien, expressing concern that there’s just one unit in WS and it’s a ways away. “There’s a couple options” said Hagen – “one would be to make an arrangement with Medic 4 to provide that service in this area, the existing medic unit in West Seattle could be relocated further south …” Currently, they don’t call for mutual aid until everyone’s tied up, but that could change, Hagen said. “…I can tell you your concern is heard.” But, “There’s really no good reason we don’t have automatic aid right now … we can give easier than we can get … most of the time.”

Pat Price from NHUAC asked about timetable for the Duwamish annexation and how that’s affecting NHFD. “We’re still working through the interlocal agreement with King County … still looking at (possibly) putting it on November ballot this year, and it would take effect in 2018.”

Chief Hagen committed to getting answers to the e-mailed questions as soon as possible – even if partial, Hiatt stressed and he agreed to that.

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SEATTLE ANNEXATION? Next discussion: North Highline Fire District Board on May 16th

May 6th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Annexation, North Highline Fire District, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on SEATTLE ANNEXATION? Next discussion: North Highline Fire District Board on May 16th

Quick followup to the announcement at last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting (WCN coverage here) that the King County Boundary Review Board has scheduled its public hearing on possible Seattle annexation:

As mentioned in our story, the BRB public hearings are set for 7 pm June 13-14 at the Technology Access Foundation’s Bethaday Community Space.

We followed up this morning with Seattle city government’s point person on the proposed annexation, Kenny Pittman. He said the city is still waiting for its formal notification of what’s on the BRB website, so it hasn’t made an official announcement of the hearings yet. He also said the city has yet to set up the webpage it promised at the March Dubsea Coffee community meeting, with information about the proposal and process. We asked if any further community conversations are scheduled; not yet, he said, but he did mention that he will be at the North Highline Fire District board’s meeting on May 16th (7 pm, NHFD HQ, 1243 SW 112th) at the board’s invitation, and will be bringing along a Seattle Fire assistant chief.

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Small house fire in White Center, no one hurt

November 9th, 2015 Tracy Posted in fire, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off on Small house fire in White Center, no one hurt

(WCN photo by Patrick Sand)
North Highline firefighters are just wrapping up their work at a house in the 10800 block of 11th SW, where a small fire started in a wall and extended to the ceiling before it was put out. They tell us damage is not major and the home’s residents will be able to go back inside soon. Nobody was hurt. The fire’s cause has not yet been determined.

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VIDEO: King County Sheriff’s Office, North Highline Fire District, AMR ambulance, other safety specialists visit White Center Heights Elementary

April 29th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline Fire District, Schools, White Center news 1 Comment »

(UPDATED EARLY THURSDAY with more video, photos)

The youngest students at White Center Heights Elementary School got a lesson today that will last their whole lives: Finding out firsthand about public-safety personnel and what they do, during the school’s second annual Emergency Services Day. In our video, above, the star of the show was the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One, which landed right on the school’s playfield after circling a few times. Once it had come to a full stop, the students got to go over for a close-up look:

But the helicopter was not the only visitor. Public-safety vehicles including a North Highline Fire District engine and crew rolled onto the WC Heights playground for show and tell:

Ever wonder how a fire engine works and what equipment’s on board? Listen to the explanation and Q/A for this group of students:

An AMR ambulance was there too, with an EMT who has a special connection to the school – David Sonsteng is WC Heights Elementary’s PTSA president:

And a KCSO Gang Unit detective showed the students a patrol car as well as explaining his gear, from weapons to radio:

The students included WC Heights kindergarteners who had been working on their “community helpers” module, and preschool and Head Start students who were finishing up a “transportation” module. Introducing young children to emergency personnel in a non-emergency situation is helpful in case of a future emergency – firefighters, police and others might look scary with their uniforms and equipment unless a child recalls having learned about who they are and what they do. So all these little ones went home today with stories to tell:

(Here’s our coverage of the first WCH Emergency Services Day last year.)
EARLIER: Below, the short version of our story, originally published Wednesday afternoon:

During a burst of sunshine between showers, White Center Heights Elementary students greeted special visitors for the school’s 2nd annual Emergency Services DayKing County Sheriff’s Office (including the Guardian One helicopter and a Gang Unit detective), North Highline Fire District, AMR (ambulance), and more. Above, a quick bit of video from right after Guardian One’s landing on the school playfield – we have much more to add later this evening.

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North Highline Fire District meeting Monday: ‘Benefit charge’ hearing, too

October 17th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Fire District meeting Monday: ‘Benefit charge’ hearing, too

North Highline Fire District invites you to its commissioners’ meeting next Monday (October 20th), 7 pm at NHFD headquarters, because it’s a double-duty meeting – it’s also a public hearing related to the “benefit charge” approved by voters earlier this year, along with a chance to find out more about the district’s revenue expectation for next year. You can see the full agenda here.

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Scenes from Night Out 2014 in North Highline

August 6th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, Neighborhoods, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off on Scenes from Night Out 2014 in North Highline

Thanks to North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president Barbara Dobkin for sharing photos from a lively Night Out gathering in NH – our apologies for delayed publication. Above, NH Fire District firefighters stopped by. Below, King County Sheriff’s Office was represented too – that’s Major Jerrell Wills in uniform:

And he wasn’t alone:

Next year, let us know if you are having a Night Out party – we would love to stop by a few, as we do on the other side of the city-county line – any time!

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Election 2014: North Highline Fire District ‘benefit charge’ passing

August 5th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 1 Comment »

It needs 60 percent approval – and so far, after the first ballot count in tonight’s election, the North Highline Fire District benefit charge has almost 70 percent approval. Here’s the full list of election results from around King County; next ballot count will be out tomorrow afternoon.

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North Highline ballot measure: Hearing next Monday; ballots on the way

July 16th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news 3 Comments »

King County Elections is sending out ballots for the August 5th election starting today, and if you live in the North Highline Fire District, you will be asked to vote on Proposition 1, the “benefit charge” measure. The district is having a public hearing next Monday, July 21st, during its regular meeting (7 pm, NHFD HQ, 1243 SW 112th). Here’s the fact sheet it’s circulating:

P.S. If you want to return your ballot without having to pay postage, the drop-off van will be back in Greenbridge August 2nd, 4th, 5th – details here.

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34th District Democrats endorse North Highline Fire District measure

July 10th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 5 Comments »

Less than a week until King County Elections sends out the August 5th ballots, which will include the North Highline Fire District benefit-charge ballot measure. Last night, meeting in West Seattle, this area’s biggest political organization, the 34th District Democrats, endorsed the measure. If you’re still getting up to speed on what it’s about, see the video in this WCN story from last month’s NH Unincorporated Area Council meeting.

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North Highline Fire District benefit-charge vote ahead August 5th: Presentation @ NHUAC

June 11th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 4 Comments »

Heard about the “benefit charge” for the North Highline Fire District that’ll be on the August primary ballot? If not, here’s your primer, from last Thursday night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting:

Lt. Ray Pettigrew stood in for Chief Mike Marrs, who he said couldn’t make it because of illness. With maps and a PowerPoint, he explained the money proposal, as well as some basics about the NHFD itself:

*Each station has 1 engine staffed with three firefighters at any given time, he said – sometimes a bit more because of volunteers.

*Vast majority of the job is going on aid calls

*278 false alarms – “almost one per day”

*42 hazmat calls

*526 “other” calls – illegal burns, barbecues mistaken for fires

About 12 calls a day between the two stations, so “they’re pretty busy.”

He says it’s a matter of financial need – “we’ve done everything we can to try to cut expenses
… we’ve used reserves … we’ve contracted to have Burien chief also be the North Highline chief,” but they’re about out of reserves if no new funding is found. In addition, he noted, the district has gotten smaller, with the 2010 Burien annexation, for example.

Proposition 1 on the August ballot needs a simple yes/no vote. If passed, it sets up a six-year run for the charge – with potential renewals thereafter. It’s not a tax, Pettigrew stressed, “it’s a fee,” and it’s charged based on factors such as square footage and whether a building has sprinklers or not.

For the average owner of a 2,000 square foot home worth $250,000, their tax/fee bill would go up $6/month, he said. It would only be charged for structures, not for empty land. Other districts with a “benefit charge” include Kent, Auburn, Woodinville, and Eastside Fire.

“It allows us to stabilize our funding so we’re not subject to property values going up and down, more ability to plan long range,” he said.

The NHFD commissioners voted at their April meeting to put it on the August ballot.

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Fire district’s future in the spotlight @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council next Thursday

May 30th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

As the flyer shows, the next North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting is less than a week away. And it’s a hot topic in more ways than one, as announced by NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin:

When: Thursday, June 5 – 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station – 1243 112th Street SW

Please plan on joining us for an important community discussion regarding the future of our North Highline Fire District (NHFD). The residents of North Highline will have an opportunity to vote in August on a “Benefit Charge” to provide much needed support our NHFD. Fire Chief Mike Marrs will provide information on the past, present and future of fire district and what impact the Benefit Charge will have on property owners as well as the fire district.

We will also have our White Center Storefront Deputy BJ Myers on hand to provide updates on crime trends – this is a great time to share your concerns regarding community safety.

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Early-morning fire guts 13th SW home; no one hurt

April 7th, 2014 Tracy Posted in fire, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 5 Comments »

North Highline Fire District crews are still at the scene of a house fire on 13th SW south of SW Roxbury. The incident commander tells WCN that no one was in the house when it caught fire before dawn; there are residents in an RV on the property, and the house was full of items being stored. An investigator will be working in the hours ahead to find out what started the fire.

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Video: White Center Heights Elementary kindergarteners meet first responders

March 13th, 2014 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off on Video: White Center Heights Elementary kindergarteners meet first responders

Thanks again to White Center Heights Elementary PTA president David Sonsteng for the alert about the WCH kindergarteners’ big day today – Emergency Services Day. The weather was perfect for them to meet their visitors outside – above, the North Highline Fire District; below, the King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support Unit and its famous helicopter Guardian One:
Listen to the excitement in our video clip recorded as the helicopter approached and landed:

Also on hand – an American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance crew. If public-safety crews respond to an injury/illness situation that is not necessarily serious enough to require a medic unit, the private ambulance crews of AMR are called in.
This was part of a “community helpers” module the kindergarteners were working on, Sonsteng explained. First graders were part of the event too.

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King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, North Highline firefighters visit Beverly Park Elementary School

October 19th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Helicopter, King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off on King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, North Highline firefighters visit Beverly Park Elementary School

(Also published on partner site The South Park News)

Kids at Beverly Park Elementary – just south of South Park – got a big thrill Friday when the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One came to visit. Our video shows its landing. Luckily the fog had lifted enough that they could keep their appointment.

That’s Deputy John Pugh, above, who flies Guardian One.

North Highline firefighters were there too:

The students were excited to meet the visiting law enforcers and get a look at their cars.

Later, a busy day and night resumed for KCSO’s air support unit – here’s a tweet with both their helicopters, Guardian 1 and Guardian 2:

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White Center house fire under investigation; no injuries reported

June 9th, 2013 Tracy Posted in fire, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off on White Center house fire under investigation; no injuries reported

King County’s fire investigator is working to find out what caused a house fire in the 10600 block of 17th SW; thanks to the readers who messaged us about it. It’s out now. Nobody home when it happened, and no injuries were reported, the North Highline Fire District incident commander told us.

Lesley recorded video while smoke was pouring from the house:

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Late-night house fire under investigation

May 8th, 2013 Tracy Posted in fire, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off on Late-night house fire under investigation

Fire did major damage to a house on 28th SW just north of Explorer West Middle School late Tuesday night. A King County fire investigator was on scene early this morning trying to find out what started the fire; the incident commander from North Highline Fire District told WCN that the homeowner wasn’t home when it started – though he had arrived by the time we got there – and nobody was hurt.

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Just two nights till North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s next Public Safety Forum

April 30th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Crime, fire, King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline Fire District, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Just two nights till North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s next Public Safety Forum

Questions about crime prevention and crimefighting, fire prevention and firefighting? Here’s your reminder that you’ll want to be at the North Highline Fire District HQ this Thursday night (May 2) for the next North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Public Safety Forum. From the original announcement:

We are pleased to be hosting King County Sheriff John Urquhart and North Highline Fire Chief Mike Marrs.

Sheriff Urquhart will be here to take our questions, and listen to community concerns about public safety and the sheriff’s department staffing levels for the North Highline area.

Once again our White Center Storefront Deputy position is in jeopardy, as the special funding allocated in 2011 expires at the end of 2013. Will the 2014 budget include funding for this essential position?

The North Highline Fire District, which is funded solely by property tax money from North Highline, is facing critical financial challenges. Chief Marrs will discuss the history of our North Highline Fire District, operational status, and future challenges and options.

Storefront Deputy BJ Myers is scheduled to be there too. The forum’s set to start at 7 pm Thursday, 1243 SW 112th – everybody welcome.

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North Highline fire crew gets kudos for helping ‘distraught grandma’

March 3rd, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline fire crew gets kudos for helping ‘distraught grandma’

This photo and accompanying report appeared today in the WCN inbox:

I was in White Center recently to welcome my sixth grandchild into the world. During this time I took the older kids on errands etc. On one trip to the Safeway I accidentally locked my 2-year-old granddaughter in the van. I was totally distraught and had someone call the police to help. During the time I was waiting on the police a firetruck answered a call to this Safeway. After the firemen/emt’s completed their initial call they noticed the distraught grandma in the green sweater standing by her van. They all came over, brought tools and after about 30 minutes were able to unlock my van. While they were working on the lock they were very positive and friendly. No one made me feel bad or commented on the situation I had created. These men came to my rescue and did it with grace and professionalism even when I was not the original call.

I have attached a picture of just two of the gentlemen but all of them need to get credit for the act of kindness they showed to the distraught grandma in the green sweater in the silver van. A big thank you is well deserved.

J.D. Curry
Odessa, TX

Good going, North Highline Fire District!

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Seattle City Council schedules ‘Annexations’ briefing next Tuesday

February 14th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Annexation, North Highline Fire District, south park, White Center news Comments Off on Seattle City Council schedules ‘Annexations’ briefing next Tuesday

4:44 PM: Does Seattle have renewed interest in the bulk of North Highline, now that voters have said no to Burien? We might get a hint next Tuesday, when the Seattle City Council’s morning briefing – usually scheduled for Mondays, but delayed because of Presidents Day – includes an agenda item titled “Annexations.” The only supporting documents accompanying the agenda right now are two maps of the unincorporated area – this one (which appears oriented toward discussing fire services) and this one – which don’t give a hint as to the prospective discussion’s direction. One of the presenters is Council President Sally Clark, with whom we checked when the Boundary Review Board rejected Tukwila’s proposed annexation of the so-called “Duwamish Triangle” area in southern South Park. Seattle had been interested in pursuing both that area and South Park’s “Sliver by the River,” but when we had checked with Clark, she said there wasn’t yet a plan for what the city planned to do next. Once we get a response to our questions, we’ll add it; in the meantime, the briefing is toward the end of the 9 am Seattle City Council briefing meeting next Tuesday at City Hall.

9 PM: We have heard from Council President Clark, who tells WCN/WSB:

… we scheduled this briefing to bring councilmembers up to speed on both:

1. Area Y (North Highline) after the rejection of Burien by voters in November.
2. Sliver Q – the catchy new name for the Duwamish Triangle and the Sliver by the River together.

We’ll cover what may happen now after the Area Y vote and after the Boundary Review Board’s rejection of Tukwila’s petition.

If you can’t make it to downtown Seattle for the briefing, it’ll be live on the Seattle Channel’s website – – as are all the City Council’s proceedings. No votes are taken during “briefing” meetings, but we’ll keep an eye on the agenda to see if any additional documents turn up by Tuesday.

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