Published Sunday, March 19, 2023, 1400 hours PT

SKAGIT COUNTY, WASHINGTON — Firefighters with the Skagit County Fire District #4 (Clear Lake Fire) and mutual aid from the Mount Vernon Fire Department were dispatched to a rope/water rescue call on Sunday morning just before 0900 hours PT.

Firefighters and Medics raced to the scene with lights and sirens activated and requested SR 9 at the Nookachamps Creek Bridge (Big Rock roundabout) be closed due to fire operations on the bridge.

MVFD’s Ladder 125 (Station 1/Downtown) staffed with two firefighters positioned their rig on the bridge and conducted a ropes system that uses the aerial ladder and lowered Medics down to the patient for assessment.

Though the details are somewhat sketchy, from our experience, the patient would have been secured and packaged in a litter and lifted back up to the bridge to an awaiting ground ambulance.

Details released by Fire Department Officials indicate the male patient was a person down an embankment into the creek call.

He was rescued from Nookachamps Creek and transported by Mount Vernon Medics to an area hospital.

Units assigned were: A419, E421, L125, M139, E131, B114 and Battalion.

The incident came in the wake of a shift change and they were able to do some move-ups to City fire stations’ continuous staffing coverages.

If this was not during their shift change time, their staffing could have been seriously impacted. As it is in the City of Mount Vernon, the professional firefighters have three stations but they currently are working with only two as Station 3 (Division Street) is under remodeling. All of their firefighters are sharing quarters at Station 2 (Headquarters).

At least 12 firefighters and Medics were at the scene, which means this put all of these men and women out of service and unable to respond to any other calls. Though they had backfills in, this could have come at the worst time and, we all know how critical and important it is to have staffing levels where they should be.

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