Searching for an SFD Chief | 8

UPDATE 8 | November 13, 2021 | 2100 PDT

The search continues for experienced hunter and Seattle Fire Deputy Chief, Jay Schreckengost since the day after his disappearance on November 2, 2021. He had texted his wife at 0700 hours, he had parked his truck and was going to scout out an area for elk hunting that he was going to go with his son the following day. However, the call was never received from his family that night in that he had returned safely to his rented cabin located at the Squaw Rock Resort and Campground.

His family went to search for him but was unable to locate him and reported him missing to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office. YCSO determined he was hunting and went missing in the Kittitas County area. KCSO quickly took over the missing person call and launched a large search for the missing Chief. Yakima County also joined in the search and the two Counties pooled their resources together.

Here is a timeline of the Search and Updates released for this SAR Mission/Incident. The newest updates will be listed first to last (the first day of search updates):

SEARCH DAY UPDATES

11/13/2021 | Search Day 11

Fellow SFD firefighters and personnel are still hopeful SFD Chief Schreckengost will be located. The search continues today and will continue with the large group of resources well into Sunday.

People are really concerned with the missing SFD Chief, that it has over 2,100 people talking about it on Facebook. Media from firefighting to around the Globe have this as a headliner. Just about everyone in the media is covering his disappearance and those who continue to search for him.

Social media is ablaze with those saying trained SAR volunteers are not getting the job done and they want to help but are discouraged why only trained professionals are being used. They figure those who know the land should be allowed to just go out there and find the missing Chief.

From my personal experience, I was very grateful to the men and women in the Sheriff’s Office and SAR Training Academy personnel/volunteers for offering training in various required courses, such as First Aid/CPR, Bloodborne Pathogens, Crime Scene Awareness, Helicopter Safety and many more. It can be dangerous to your health if you don’t know what you are doing out in the field. There are just so many unknowns and to just “go out” there and find the missing person is just a no-go.

Then there is the State Insurance that all volunteers are under when they are deployed to a SAR mission. This covers the volunteer if you get hurt on the way to, during, and from a SAR mission. This allows the volunteer to be “covered” under the State’s insurance. If you are not a volunteer, this does not apply to you. Unsure if you were to get into an auto accident while responding to and from a self-deployed search mission how that works. Thinking your auto insurance may not cover you but since I am not an attorney, that would be something you would have to talk to your attorney or insurance guy about.

11/12/2021 | Search Day 10

Kittitas County SO: “Search continues today. The many SAR personnel, Fire and Law Enforcement volunteers who’ve taken part in this search and supported this mission, have been undeterred by the challenging terrain, cold and wet conditions. They are hopeful to find the missing Chief and bring him home to his family.

The photo below was pulled from a security camera where the Chief bought gas in Naches on Monday night, 11/1/2021, a day before he went missing.

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Credit | KCSO

The Sheriff’s Office says they appreciate everyone who has offered to help in the search, but they are unable to send out untrained/uncertified persons into the field at this time. They are 100% focused on finding the missing Chief and all of their efforts are on the search. At this time, they are unable to vet every single person who is interested in joining in the Search.

If you wish to know more about SAR operations, join a group or donate, please read our Update 7 for more information.

Call out by family: “If you are a firefighter, police, or trained personnel to help locate Jay this weekend. We are so desperate to locate him. The new command center is Gold Creek Saloon, 18431 WA-410, Naches, WA. Searchers are meeting daily at 0700 hours. Must check-in prior to deployment.

11/11/2021 | Search Day 9

The Family says their search continues and looking for SAR, Firefighter or police/military volunteers to help them search. They have expanded the search area and will continue searching.

SAR personnel do not self-deploy and cannot be part of a private search. They are under the County organization to which they are a member of and it is a no-no in self-deployment. The County Sheriff to which the search is being conducted is the lead agency in charge of the search, per the State of Washington’s laws.

11/10/2021 | Search Day 8

Kittitas Co SO: “The [search] continues for missing SFD Chief Schreckengost in the hills above Cliffdell in the Okanogan-Wenatchee NF. Same resources as Day 7.

The King County Sheriff’s Office joins the search with deputies, members with their Air Support Unit (ASU) and KCSARA volunteers.

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Credit | KCSO

11/9/2021 | Search Day 7

Kittitas Co SO: “Over 100 people searched today, including State SAR planners, K9 teams, drone teams, 4×4 teams, mountain rescue teams, and ground teams. A significant portion of ground teams consist of Seattle and other FD personnel, SFD Battalion Chiefs (working with the SO SAR Coordinators as liaisons), SFD Command personnel are on-scene, being briefed about the search, and their personnel, supporting the mission.”

11/8/2021 | Search Day 6

Kittitas Co SO gets a tip about a grey jeep along the portion of FS Road 1703 above Cliffdell is said to have created this map of the location on 11/2/2021 morning. The SO believes that the vehicle was being driven by another hunter in the area. Witnesses said that they’d seen it around before and the Sheriff’s Office was interested in speaking with them to verify some of the facts underlying their search for the missing SFD Chief. As of 2050 this evening, they had contacted the person and they are continuing to move on with the search.

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Courtesy | KCSO

Kittitas Co SO presser: “Since Wednesday, SFD Chief Schreckengost’s pick up has been found parked along an FS Road. Hundreds of SAR volunteers and SFD/Other FD personnel are searching together, with the aid of his family. Resources include SAR K9 teams, drone teams, helicopters from JBLM, and the Sheriff’s Office. Grateful for Whistlin’ Jack/Resort which graciously served as our operations base for the search. The Chief’s family and the SFD have expressed their thanks for the kindness and support of the community in and around the Naches area during this difficult time.”

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Credit | KCSO

11/7/2021 | Search Day 5

Family puts out a call-out for those to help with the search with those being any Firefighters/Police or trained personnel, they are asking for help, especially during the weekdays. Private Search meeting at Whistlin Jack Resort. 20800 WA-410, Naches, WA. Starting time is at 0700 hours.

Family: “Be prepared for weather conditions, check pass for closures, have 4×4 for snow and appropriate clothing. Cannot say thank you enough to those who have been here (some from dawn to dusk, ages 16 to 71, some getting off shift even). The kindness and care for Jay have kept us going.”

11/6/2021 | Search Day 4

Kittitas County SO presser: “SAR operations continued today in the Cliffdell area of Kittitas County. In the days since he was last heard from, personnel and resources across the State have searched the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest where he went missing. SFD and other FD members have been integrated into the search, along with SAR volunteers from seven counties. The family in the field with trained SAR personnel and also providing intel at the Base /Command Post.”

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Credit | KCSO

Private searches in vehicles and on horseback occur as they search for Jay.

11/5/2021 | Search Day 3

Another call-out by family members for firefighters, police, or trained personnel only at this point. Another search will start at 0700-0730 on 11/6/2021 (Saturday) from Whistlin Jack Lodge. “Please check in here for an assignment before going up to the trail. GoFundPage is created for travel, gas, lodge and fuel. Venmo Page created by daughter Marisa: @Marisa-Schreckengost.

11/4/2021 | Search Day 2

The family reiterates Jay’s truck is at the previously given coordinates listed. He is believed to be around this area as he had parked his truck to go scouting in the area. A larger search party is going out at around 0730 hours this morning. Some have gone out looking for him at 0100 and will remain out until 0900 hours. Another search will be gathering this evening. They will go to the truck’s location and search from there.

11/3/2021 | Search Day 1

Kittitas County SAR begins Thursday AM search. Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office takes the SAR lead and PIO responsibilities. Yakima County is assisting as well. They state Chief Schreckengost was staying and hunting close to both Kittitas and Yakima County borders. His pick was located. 7 Ground teams, 4 K9 SAR teams, infrared-equipped drones from both counties are being utilized. Dozens of SFD have been included in the search operations plan and deployment.

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Credit | KCSO

Jay Schreckengost, ’50s, is an avid outdoorsman/experienced hunter and Seattle Fire Deputy Chief is last heard from on 11/2/2021 at 0700 hours when he contacts his wife by text to let him know he is going out to scout out an area for elk hunting. He was due to go hunting with his son the following day. He was supposed to contact his family that night to let them know he made it safely back to his rented cabin at the Squaw Rock RV and campground, but they don’t hear from him. He is reported as missing and reports of him being last seen at the rented cabin on 11/2/2021 around 0700 hours.

Description; 50’s, 6’2″, 250#, bald with blue eyes. Driving a red Ford F-150 with a canopy. Pick up location: 46.971028, -121.010631.

Credit | Schreckengost Family

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