GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN | 4 Seattle Firefighters Remembered

Tragedy struck at the Mary Pang warehouse incident  that  occurred on January 5, 1995, an arson-caused fire – that was deemed to be a well-played out plan by the owner’s son for insurance money.  He had hoped that  if it burned down, he would reap a large payout.

As it turned out, many people and Officials were aware of this planned attack on a Seattle business but the day to carry out the arsonist’s intentions came and went.  Soon afterwards after the intended date, the fire eventually took place and the intensity was well publicized.  It was also the day, the arsonist murdered four great Seattle Firemen and destroying hundreds of lives and those who were deeply impacted by their losses to their immediate families, Fire Department, fellow Fire Brothers and Sisters, communities and those indirectly.

I wrote a short story, Seattle Mourn from the viewpoint of a fictious reporter but based upon actual Fire Investigative reports, media news and publications, eyewitness accounts and listening to audio coverage as the fire incident unfolded on that horrendous day.  As a former Firefighter REHAB volunteer, I can only imagine the intensity, the smells, the sounds and the large number of Fire personnel arriving on scene.  This story was inspired by these amazing men – Lt. Walter Kilgore, Lt. Gregory Shoemaker, Firefighters James Brown and Randall Terlicker who lost their lives on this tragic day and published in an anthology, Felons, Flames and Ambulance Rides released July 2013.

Their lives will be forever remembered and what they stood for.  Please take a little moment and say a prayer remembering those who are still greatly affected by their loss by their families, friends, Fire brothers and sisters.  We Will Never Forget.

~ LR Swenson, Editor/Owner

Wildland Fire: RoundFire Prompts Two Small Town Evacuations

Inyo & Mono Counties, California | A wildfire started today at 1407 and was reported to be around 50 acres. It is located west of Highway 395 at the Sherwin Grade. There is a 0% containment.

As of 1830 this evening, CAL FIRE reported the fire had increased to 100 acres in size seriously impacting two towns.

Paradise and Swall Meadows are currently under a mandatory evacuation.  An evacuation shelter has been set-up at 458 S Landing in Crowley Lake, California 93546, the town’s Crowley Lake Community Center.

One outbuilding and one residence are reportedly destroyed.  The cause is currently under investigaton.  No injuries have been reported.

Agencies currently working at the fire scene and assisting with evacuations are: CALFire, Inyo USFS, Paradise FD, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Mono County Sheriff’s Office, CHP, LADWP, Bishop Fire, Big Pine Fire, Independence Fire, Lone Pine Fire, Long Valley Fire, Wheeler Crest Fire, Edison and CDCR with a total of 50 personnel.

Thirteen [13] fire engines are currently working, along with two [2] dozers.

Road Closures have been set at Roller Rock Creek Road at Toms Place and Gorge Road on Nside of Highway 395.

Conditions are making it difficult for firefighters and fixed wing or rotary aircraft to fly due to erractic shifting winds.

ABOUT Paradise, California

The town of Paradise incorporated in 1979, and is located in the foothills of Northern California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Elevations vary from 2,000-2800 above the Valley floor.  According to the town’s website, they state they have a population of 27,000 residents.  Adding neighboring towns:  Magnolia, Paradines Pines, Lovelock, Stirling City includes another 25,000 residents.

It is known as the 2nd Largest town in Butte County, California.

The town has three Fire Stations: #81 [main station] on Birch Street, #82 on S Libby and #83 on Wagstaff.  There are two [2] fire stations with three-man crews and one [1] fire station with a two-man crew.  The small Fire Department has a Fire Prevention Officer, a Fire Marshall and an Administrative Assistant.

They have an agreement with CAL FIRE that also maintains stations within the town, making it more efficient for operations and quick responses.

ABOUT Swall Meadows, California

Swalls Meadows is located in the Southern area of Mono County and is home to vacationers and families.  This town has a 23% ratio of unoccupied homes in the community with a population of 220 residents [per 2010 census].

Swalls Meadows sits part way up Sherman Grade below Wheeler Crest of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s elevations are between 6-7,000 feet.  Habitat consists of Pinon-Juniper/Subalpine.

The town is accessible from “Old” 395 or Lower Creek Road.  It is located 20 miles North of Bishop and 25 miles South of Mammoth Lakes.  Nearby towns are Paradise, Aspen Springs, Sunny Slopes, Crowley Lake, Round Valley Mesa, McGee Creek, West Bishop, Chaflant, Dixon Lane-Meadow Creek and Wilkerson.

There is only a Volunteer Fire Station in the the town.  There are no commercial buildings and this is family oriented community with many surrounding beautiful views.

[c] 2015 The NW Fire Blog

WE WILL NEVER FORGET: Remembering 4 Seattle Firefighters Whose Legacies Changed Firefighting Forever

Seattle, Washington | On January 5, 1995, an arson fire claimed the lives of four Seattle Firefighters, Lt. Walter Kilgore, Lt. Greg Shoemaker, Firefighters James Brown and Randy Terlicker in what would be one of the worst fires in history.

WE WILL NEVER FORGET, is a tribute to all those in Public Safety who have died in the Line of Duty remembering their Legacy, Commitment, Dedication and Service.  Though GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN is a way we remember who they were here on Earth.  Their memory still lives on in our hearts and souls.

This year marks the 20th Year Anniversary of their Lives Lost and remembrance of these four Heroes will be celebrated on Monday, January 5th in Occidental Park at 0900 Hours.  This is also the same place where four statues were created in their Memory and dedicated all the men and women whom have died in the Line of Duty.

The Seattle’s Bravest Charity and The Walter Kilgore Honor Guard was created from these tragedies and are dedicated to their Memory.

All are Invited to Support your Fire Service Community, their Families and remembering their Lives.

[c] 2015 The NW Fire Blog

[ As a tribue to these 4 Seattle Heroic Firefighters, Author LR Swenson wrote a short story, Seattle Mourn published in the anthology Felons, Flames and Ambulance Rides released by Oak Tree Press in July 2013 and can be ordered through Amazon.com ]


SPECIAL REQUEST: Helping A Hero In Need is What Families Do for One Another

A Duvall [Washington State] Senior Firefighter and His Family Are in Need of Family Assistance.  We are asking our Friends, Family, Fans, Followers, Visitors and those in the Public Safety professions to help spread the word like wildfire and Help a Hero In Need through Fundraising.


On November 4, 2014, Duvall Fire’s Senior Firefighter and IAFF Member of Local 2878, Seth Ansell was off-duty when he suffered a severe eye requiring surgery.  We have heard things went well, but we all know it may be a  long and slow journey back to a healthy state.


We found remnants from 2005, when Ansell received the Prestigious “Rookie of the Year” Award for his efforts and enthusiasm in his 1st year off of Probation presented to him at the Fire District #45 Annual Banquet.

Senior Firefighter Ansell would later participate in 2010, in one of the most grueling competitive annual fundraiser events known to Firefighters all over the Country:  The Scott Firefighter Stairclimb which draws over 1500 of his Brothers and Sisters from over 21 States and representing 300 Fire Departments.  A feat not easy for anyone less a Firefighter wearing protective gear and breathing apparatus worth an extra 50 pounds in a timed event running up 69 flights of stairs, 788 vertical feet equaling to around 1,311 steps. 

If someone can conquer the Columbia Tower, known as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi and host to the Stairclimb event, he can conquer just about anything.


Though Senior Firefighter Ansell is on the mend, his wife Jessie and two sons, Walker and Hunter as a family face a tremendous uphill battle with medical bills and household expenses piling up.  As many can contest, medical bills can cause financial hardships, undue stress and burdens seemingly heavy to carry.  As a Family, together will need to focus on helping Seth remain strong and encouraged while he heals.

A favorite quote on Hope:

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” – Thich Nhat Hanh


Others have stepped in to assist the Ansell Family with their medical bills and household expenses on the fundraising site, “GoFundMe”, but they still your help to reach their goal of $10,000.00. Since the creation of the site on November 6, 2014, Family and Friends have helped raise $6325.00 in Donations.

Please go to the Ansell Family Benevolent Fund at http://www.gofundme.com/ansellfamily and make a Donation Today.

All Proceeds will Benefit the Ansell Family directly with their expenses.


Whether taking care of firefighters on the fire ground or by offering support, we are here because we care about you,  your Brothers, Sisters and those who share a profound love for the Public Safety profession and everything you represent.

We appreciate the request to be called upon to help A Hero In Need and spread the word like wildfire to those who have asked how you can help this Family.

Now, LET’s DO THIS! Let’s help raise the bar over the $10,000.00 mark! Ready. Set. Go.

Drop Us a Line!  nwfireblog@comcast.net

Follow Us at:  @nwfireblog [Twitter] or The NW Fire Blog [Facebook]


[c] 2014 The NW Fire Blog

Social Media Is Our Gig

Fires.  Fire is everywhere.  It’s a busy season for all of us here in the Northwest and more so in California at the moment.

Missing your NW fire news?

You’ll usually find us mostly tweeting live fire coverage, radio traffic, retweeting other FD or PD great reminders, photos and creating our own posts on Twitter.  Follow us @nwfireblog and become a Follower. We’d love to have you on board.

Have a story you’d like us to cover? Drop us a line at nwfireblog@comcast.net.

Or come and visit us on our Facebook page at “The NW Fire Blog” and let us know how we are doing or chat with us.

Thanks everyone for visiting our blog today!

(c) 2014 The NW Fire Blog | @nwfireblog [Twitter] | nwfireblog@comcast.net [Email] | The NW Fire Blog [Facebook]


London Hospitals, EMS Face Serious Challenges

North London, UK | Hospital bosses had to declare an ‘internal emergency’ and turn away ambulances from a packed A&E unit – weeks after they closed a nearby emergency department.

Doctors at Barnet Hospital in North London had to shut their doors to ambulance patients on January 31 this year – only to do the same thing again just two days later.

According to a leaked letter, ‘capacity issues’ in the hospital’s A&E forced ambulances to be sent elsewhere.

Struggle: Doctors at Barnet Hospital were forced to declare an 'internal emergency' shutting their doors to ambulances after being swamped by patients

Struggle: Doctors at Barnet Hospital were forced to declare an ‘internal emergency’ shutting their doors to ambulances after being swamped by patients

The two incidents follow the controversial closure last December of Chase Farm Hospital’s A&E six miles away, which has heaped pressure on nearby hospitals.

Last night, a spokesman for Barnet And Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust denied the diversions were caused by the A&E downgrade, adding: ‘The Trust experienced high numbers of attendances and ambulance arrivals to A&E on 31 January.

‘As a consequence of this, and in line with NHS England policy, Barnet Hospital declared an internal emergency and… non-urgent ambulances were diverted.’

She added that diverts, as they are known, were not unusual and that there were 19 in total across England that weekend.

But angry campaigners claim the A&E closure is ‘putting lives at risk’, while local MP Nick de Bois said that hospital managers had serious questions to answer.

Dozens of A&Es across the country are under threat, as the Government and some doctors argue that the NHS cannot afford to have an emergency unit in every hospital.

Critics have warned of the knock-on effects of the closures, which can force seriously ill patients to travel further to receive treatment – and then face more delays once they get there.

Downgrade: Chase Farm Hospital's A&E was controversially closed. It is six miles from Barnet Hospital, heaping pressure on the North London trust's emergency department

Downgrade: Chase Farm Hospital’s A&E was controversially closed. It is six miles from Barnet Hospital, heaping pressure on the North London trust’s emergency department

Paramedics say the Chase Farm closure has led to a dramatic increase in ‘stacking’ at North London hospitals, where ambulances have to queue to drop off patients.

‘I have always said the downgrade was the wrong decision, because the demands of the local population would lead to problems at other A&Es.

Official NHS statistics bear this out, showing the number of ambulances waiting for more than 30 minutes outside one hospital has risen seven-fold.

‘I have always said the downgrade was the wrong decision, because the demands of the local population would lead to problems at other A&Es’

– Nick de Bois, Tory MP for Enfield North

Last week, NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson said that ‘centralised, large units… work best’ and warned that the NHS could not afford to keep smaller departments open.

But Kate Wilkinson, of the Save Chase Farm campaign group, said: ‘This has become a very dangerous situation where there are not sufficient front-line services to deal with demand. It’s putting lives at risk. There needs to be some serious and honest discussions with the decision makers, who need to admit there is a lack of services.’

Last month, this newspaper revealed how two-year old Hashir Naveed died  after his desperate mother took him to Chase Farm at 3am – only to discover that its A&E department had recently been closed down.

Two weeks later managers declared an ‘internal major incident due to capacity issues in Emergency’ at Barnet Hospital with ‘ambulances queuing’, according to a letter to GPs.

East of England Ambulance Service was asked ‘to ensure that alternative hospitals are utilised’ and GPs were told not to send in patients ‘where possible’.

Stacking: The closure of Chase Farm's A&E has also heaped pressure on North Middlesex University Hospital, where 34 extra ambulances have flocked to the trust every day since the closure

Stacking: The closure of Chase Farm’s A&E has also heaped pressure on North Middlesex University Hospital, where 34 extra ambulances have flocked to the trust every day since the closure

The crisis in Barnet’s A&E on January 31 was triggered by there being ‘no beds available’ for admitted patients to move into, wrote Jacqui Bunce, associate director of East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Two days later a similar thing happened and ambulances had to be sent elsewhere.

Last winter, when Chase Farm A&E was still open, ambulances never had to be diverted from either hospital.

NHS statistics also show that since Chase Farm A&E closed on December 9, ambulances have had to wait outside Barnet Hospital for more than 30 minutes on 236 occasions.

Over the same two-month period  last winter, that happened only 167 times – and then the figures related to ambulances outside both hospitals, not just Barnet.

However, the increase in stacking outside North Middlesex Hospital has been far more startling.

Since Chase Farm A&E closed, ambulances have had to wait over 30 minutes on 941 separate occasions – or 14 times a day. During the same two-month period last winter, this only happened 132 times – or twice a day.

Dangerous situation: Nick de Bois, Tory MP for Enfield North, said: 'Before Chase Farm A&E closed we were repeatedly told that capacity at Barnet would not be an issue. These early indications suggest that clearly they cannot. I have always said the downgrade was the wrong decision'

Dangerous situation: Nick de Bois, Tory MP for Enfield North, said: ‘Before Chase Farm A&E closed we were repeatedly told that capacity at Barnet would not be an issue. These early indications suggest that clearly they cannot. I have always said the downgrade was the wrong decision’

North Middlesex board minutes show concern over the issue with the hospital receiving 34 extra ambulances a day since the closure, ‘compared to an expectation of 29’.

This has led to ‘some clustering of ambulances which has caused some pressures on the flow of patients in to and through hospital’, wrote director Martin Armstrong.

Ambulance crews are meant to hand over patients within 15 minutes of arriving but performance on this is ‘significantly below target’.

A North Middlesex spokesman said that, as a result of the changes that included the Chase Farm downgrade, it was expected the hospital would see an extra 26,000 patients a year.

Nick de Bois, Tory MP for Enfield North, said: ‘Before Chase Farm A&E closed we were repeatedly told that capacity at Barnet would not be an issue and they would be able to cope. These early indications suggest that clearly they cannot.

‘I have always said the downgrade was the wrong decision, because the demands of the local population would lead to problems at other A&Es.

‘When you have got ambulances stacking up outside the doors of North Mid to that extent, it does beg the question: Why are we downgrading other emergency departments?’

Two-thirds oppose plans for new NHS database that will see confidential medical records sold to private firms

Two-thirds of the public oppose plans for a new NHS database that will see details from confidential medical records being sold to companies, a poll has found.

Within weeks, GPs will be forced to hand over medical records, including sensitive information such as mental health diagnoses, to build the database.

Last month it emerged that four in ten doctors intended to opt their own records out of the care.data project.

Now an online poll of 1,161 adults  by YouGov has found widespread opposition among the public.
When asked if they would ‘support or oppose’ proposals to allow firms  to access the database in exchange  for a fee, 65 per cent said they  were against the idea.

Retired GP Dr Ron Singe said: ‘The Government needs to explain who is going to get access to this data, for what purpose and for how much.’

Martin Caldwell, of pressure group SumOfUs.org, which commissioned the poll, said: ‘The consequences for ordinary people could be huge.

‘It’s not hard to imagine the value  of this information to the likes  of insurance companies, banks  or marketing firms.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2560270/Hospital-declares-internal-emergency-turns-away-ambulances-swamped-following-A-E-closure.html#ixzz2tQvNLnyP

2014 The NW Fire Blog

2013’s Heroic Action Stories, A Year in Review

Here are some amazing HEROIC ACTIONS that took place in 2013 broken down by Month which we covered.  Check them out by [date].

JANUARY: 318 New FDNY Firefighters Join Ranks [19]. 4 Dogs Saved in W Seattle House Fire [26]

FEBRUARY: Seattle FF’s save Mom,Baby,Pets in N Seattle Fire [22]

MARCH: Snoqualmie FF Awarded for Saving Drowning Woman [24]. Bellingham’s First Firefighter Retires [30]. Snohomish Co Fire #44’s Newest Heroes [31]

MAY: Detroit Firefighters Stay on Job Despite Bankruptcy [27]

JUNE: WA Training Ctr. Graduates 11 new FF’s [13]. WSP Graduates 27 New Troopers [13]. Bellevue FF/PM receives newly created Triple Crown Award [19].

AUGUST: 44 Officers Promoted in FDNY [1]. Seattle PD Boosts Morale With Promotions [3]. Stevens Fire Dist #1 Adds New FF. [5]

OCTOBER: FDNY Celebrates 100 Years of Service [27]. Seattle Honors 2013 Retirees [30].

NOVEMBER: Dispatchers Kept Shoppers Calm Due Garden State Plaza Shooting [7]. Seattle FF’s Rescue Man over Embankment [9].

DECEMBER: Seattle FF’s Give 300 Warm Coats to Needy Children [17]. Nassau Co PD Deliver Baby in AMB [23]. Volunteer FF Saves 2 Lives in Fiery Crash [25]. NYPD Officer Saves Baby Boy’s Life [25]

Thank You for Your Stories and Amazing Heroic Actions!!  Keep up the great work and Keep livin’ the Dream.

(c) 2014 The NW Fire Blog

Eastside Firefighters (WA) Hosting 3rd Annual Annual Food and Clothing Drive

The 3rd Annual Eastside Firefighters Benevolent Fund and First Due Movers Food and Clothing Drive will be held on November 29, 30 and December 1.  

Members of Eastside Firefighters Benevolent Fund, First Due Movers, and Fred Meyer will be teaming up for the 3rd Annual Food and Clothing Drive.


Volunteers help with packing food and clothing items. [Photo Courtesy: Eastside Firefighters, Taken in 2012]

First Due Movers, a great supporter has once again donated a 24-foot moving truck that will be located in the Issaquah Fred Meyer Shopping Center over the next three days.

Stop by the Issaquah Fred Meyers and help them exceed their goal of filing the moving truck twice with donated food items, and new or gently used clothing.

Eastside Fire & Rescue’s Reindeer Engine will also be on display for the public and available for a photo opportunity to anyone who donates an item.


[Photo Courtesy: Eastside Firefighters]

Help make a difference in your community! 


2012 was very successful. Let’s help them do it again benefiting hundreds of needy families. [Photo courtesy: Eastside Firefighters]

Source:  Eastside Firefighters Facebook Page


2013 The NW Fire Blog

Going. Going. Gone to the Dogs. See What the Fluff is all About.

HERO OF THE WEEK:  Sundae Garner
July 23, 2012
SFD’s Fire Equipment Tech, Sundae Garner, Photo Credit: Jeanne Johnston Jul 2012

Her Story

Sitting down for a face-to-face interview with Seattle Fire’s Fire Equipment Tech, Sundae Garner almost was a no-go until I convinced her that “everyone has a story”, no matter if it is a good one or not.  She definitely has an amazing great story to tell.  It’s an honor to being able to share with you all some of those triumphs and tribulations that makes who she is today.


You don’t really have to say her last name to know whom this person is and how she supports this Department in so many ways.  Who is this awesome person and what does she do for the Fire Department that seems to make her stand out from the rest? Good thing you asked!

Opportunity Knocks

Sundae Garner began her Professional Career with the Seattle Fire Department in April 2005, for approximately 18 months but then was laid off bringing her to Gonzaga University which she helped begin their Warehouse program and get them organized for the next seven (7) months.  

Then Seattle Fire called her back offering her a permanent position where she remains to this day.  She is a hard worker, loves to have someone bring her a problem so she can help them find a solution and  is very compassionate about her job in how she loves to work behind the scenes assisting Operations to do their jobs.  As a well-organized person, she has been tapped to build databases that are very complex in tracking equipment, services, personnel and grants that so many depend on and often.

A Complex Job

You ask, but what does she really do?  Let me tell you this – it’s a lot!

As a Fire Equipment Tech (or Warehouseperson (my name for it)) works in a Warehouse or at she calls it “Will Call for Operations”  for Support Services, is one of five other employees that is overseen by a Lt..  She explains her job description in a nutshell.  I had a hard time fathoming everything that she does and then some….

After reviewing the duties, you can get a pretty clear picture on what it entails and how a difficult job it would be for anyone, no matter male or female.

– Tracking equipment – bunking gear, air monitors, etc.

– Built a database and maintains it.

– Acquires certifications of SCBA, Maintenance and Repair of equipment

– Filling Air Bottles, Foam in SFD’s Fire Boats

– Schedules or is in Attendance with one other person during Hose Testing (it is outsourced).  Strips hoses (very heavy, I might add) off of a rig sometimes by herself to prep for Hose Testing.

– Maintains the MSDS – online.

– Schedules and handles color coding of SCBA and Oxygen Bottles.

– She handles Resource Integration Management (RIM) that is a database of City-wide Resources that can be accessed during large incidents.  It is a user-friendly database that combines all of the available resources such as equipment, services and personnel that the City can access.

– In addition, she managing all EOC and City grants in a database.

– Coordination of incoming equipment supplies to the Warehouse to outside Fire Departments such as Eastside Fire & Rescue, Bellevue, Tukwila are amongst the few she handles.

– When some fire crews are out on a long-term incident, she has been known to bring food or equipment out to companies that have been stuck at a call.

Accomplishments Inspire

Though there is a lot things that she does in her Professional career as a Fire Equipment Tech, this is not what makes Sundae Garner.  She is full of life, prides herself on many accomplishments and helping others, but it very humble about it.

Angels Amongst Us

As we go through the standard list of interview questions, I see in her eyes that she has been through a lot in her short life.  Emotions arise and we get down to the root of the situation.

One story is a constant reminder on really how short life is, but this is just a reminder of many we discuss.

She shares some very personal moments and has given me permission to share these with the rest of you all.

“On October 31, 2011, I was involved in a two-car accident on Halloween.  It was reported as a two-car MVA with a 39-year old male into a tree.  The accident was on Airport Way and S. Lander.  I was pushed under the dash and steering wheel.  I was literally trapped.  All the doors were jammed and the only thing I could move was my hand. The glass window had hit me and I was bleeding on my face.”

She remembers bits and pieces of the accident but some of the guys had to tell her the portion she has been unable to remember.

The rest of the story goes like this,

“Aid 14 first showed up with Dave Scott and Mike Mailer checking her vehicle and peering through the windows.  She lifted her head barely waving her hand saying, ‘Hi guys…’  They asked me if I am okay and I say my head hurts a little. They see I am bleeding on my head. They find that they can’t open the doors and are completely jammed. They say they are going to have to call the Ladder truck.  I beg them not to.  I  know that I am close to Station #14 and know that it will be Ladder 7 and the Rescue truck so that’s okay.  They tell me they have no choice, that the doors are jammed and they have to get me out.

Ladder 7 & Rescue 1’s crews Lt. Dave Powell, Tim Clark, Dan Gamboa and Dave Heiser show up.  Dave Scott says , ‘It’s Sundae! It’s Sundae!’ to one of the guys on the Ladder truck.  One person on the crew chimes back saying, ‘I don’t care what day it is or if it is Sunday, it is Monday.’  Then he said, ‘No, it’s Sundae.  One of our own!'”

They run over to the vehicle and the rest is history.  Well, sort of.

After she was transported to HMC, Dr. Compass, a well-known Doctor that has pioneered the Medic Training School amongst other great accomplishments in his career, had bad news for Sundae.  Because she had hit her head on the steering wheel thinking she had a concussion, they did a MRI and  found an “Arachnoid cyst”. 

As defined by Wikipedia, Arachnoid cysts are cerebrospinal fluid covered by arachnoid cells and collagen that may develop between the surface of the brain and the cranial base or on the arachnoid membrane, one of the three membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord. Arachnoid cysts are a congenital disorder, and most cases begin during infancy; however, onset may be delayed until adolescence.”  (Hers has been identified that it’s genetic)

Survival of the Fittest

What does this mean for Sundae’s road of life?  She has magnificently recovered nicely but “Archie” does give her fits occasionally which was found on her brain, causing her to have vision shifting from left to right and compensating that once in a while with neck pain.  She even had a little memory loss but she is quick to remember quite a bit when you ask questions about something that she is very compassionate about in life, like her job and community events she is heavily involved in.

Wearing Emotions on Her Sleeve

Someone had the means previously tell her that she wasn’t taking this accident too seriously when she spoke of it.  I have to tell you that she takes it very much to heart every time she tells the story.  You can see it in her eyes, her emotions expressed and they way she says it.   What she went through, she is very lucky and thankful to the guys who came and saved her on that day.  She realizes that she wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for a lot of things falling into place.

A Balancing Act

To know about “Archie” is a new challenge in her life, but she is thankful to have been treated by the best of the best on that day and realizing that things just happen.  She hopes that everyone will understand that when she may be a little frustrated with something or if it is in a time when a quick decision has to be made, to understand that it is “Archie” that is shining through her and it is not anything  personal.

Tragedy Strikes

Another turning point in her life with how a life can be cut so short – her niece’s good friend Nicole Westbrook and her boyfriend Bryant of three years.  They had moved to Seattle from New Mexico. Three weeks earlier, they were in Pioneer Square (Seattle) taking in some touristy sights in the early morning hours, when Nicole was gunned down by a drive-by shooter.  The tragedy struck on April 22, 2012.  The bullet struck her check and her spine causing her to stop breathing.  She was taken to HMC where she died from her fatal injuries.    

This is something that she is constantly reminded of and wears her emotions on her sleeves, which I find very refreshing knowing what she has been and lived through.

Life Too Short

Sundae realizes that life is “too precious” to let things just go by and now makes more of life’s moments.  There are so many things to live for.  She has definitely seen her share of things in life and this is why she is who she is and why she is so important to many of us, not only in the Fire Department but to many friends she has acquired over time.

Family Life

Originally, from Farmington, New Mexico, she has a twin and is the 6th of 7th siblings with four (4) older brothers and one (1) older sister.  She moved here in 1993, beginning her warehouse career with Tully’s  Coffee.

Huge Accomplishments

Not only has she been a huge team player in Seattle Fire’s Commissionary / Support Services, she also has received many recognitions and awards as well.

– She is the first female to be hired on to the Support Services Division and working in their Warehouse.

– Received a 2012 Nomination “Employee of the Year”.  They don’t just nominate anyone for this nomination.  You have to earn it.

– Has received the Fire Chief’s coin.

– Her Department received a “Unit Citation.” for spending so much time and tracking of firefighters’ new black bunking gear.

A Golden Heart

Sundae is also heavily involved in Community Events making a difference in people’s lives every day.

– A proud dog mom to Gus (a Rescue dog) and Bishop the Beagle  (her pride and joy and is a Rock Star of his own.)

Gus Gus (top) and Bishop (bottom) enjoy hanging out in their mom’s car either for a ride or waiting for her to return.  Aren’t they cute?  [Photo Credit: Sundae Garner]

– Camp Blaze – teaching young girls’ about firefighting.  She likes to behind the scenes.

– 9/11 Stairclimb Memorial – a Memorial that remembers the 383 firefighters that lost their lives; also remembers the police officers that have died as well.

– Animal Aid and Rescue Foundation (AARF) – She rescued Gus Gus, a one (1) year old dog from the Dominican Republic and is currently with Dr. Jim Ha, an Animal Behaviorialist.  She has literally saved this dog’s life and he saved hers.

– NW Harvest – a food bank.  She likes to help “where ever needed”.

Wow.  What  else can be said about this compassionate, straight-to-the-point, great friend, love for life, wear your emotions on your sleeve (definitely a plus) person?  I know, I probably only touched on just the tip of the iceberg on who she really is, but what we have seen so far – we are not only blessed by Sundae overall in what she does for the fire service, but in our lives as an honest, loyal and remarkable friend.  I can truly say, ‘I am proud and honored to know you.’

[Published originally July 2012]


Sundae has accomplished many things since our last interview and we can say we envy her amazing feats that should be highlighted.  Recently, she became a homeowner and her kids [Bishop and Gus Gus] couldn’t be happier and proud of their mom.  


Gus Gus [top] is a rescue from A.A.R.F. and his brother, Bishop [Sundae’s first pup – non A.A.R.F. dog]

One of Sundae’s many strengths is saving others [the four-legged kind] and she has been heavily invested in the animal rescue organization, Animal Aid and Rescue Foundation [A.A.R.F.].  She has given her undivided attention and timeless energy to helping  raise money through fundraisers and more recently, is ready to run a 26.2k marathon on December 1, 2013.

This year, The NW Fire Blog will be supporting Sundae and that’s where you all come in. We are asking our fans, followers and readers to partner with us to help Sundae with her mission in helping raise money which will save many lives and help pet owners all over Washington State.

Why are doing this, when there are many other causes?

Sundae who has worked for Seattle Fire has shown great compassion for firefighters, Medics and all of those who work in the fire service and on the fireground.  Her job can be very difficult at times, but she continues to find solutions for problems at hand.  She many great qualities and strengths that are noteworthy and through our partnership in the Fire Service – has become a great friend.  

Her job requires so much energy from her at times, I wonder where does it all come from?  We admire her for keeping things so well-organized with overwhelming [to us only] responsibilities she is in charge of, such as, managing equipment and paperwork of six to eight types of grants, encompassing three King County Zones, three other Washington State counties plus two large city fire departments, plus a National Laboratory.  

“Sometimes, it can be a daunting task.”  She says, but she does it with pride knowing she works for the best employer and has a dream job.

Now, you all know the why – here’s the how.

We are asking all of you to support Sundae during her on Saturday, December 1, 2013, on her long and adventurous journey as she runs in the Seattle Marathon.  We would like you all to visit Sundae’s fundraising page:  www.crowdrise.com/littlewonders 

The funds that Sundae will be raising will greatly benefit A.A.R.F.’s foster Moms and Dads with food and medical bills assistance; boarding fees for those furries not yet placed in a foster or forever home.  The AARF Angel Fund helps families with their own pets who are in need some financial help for vet bills, grooming, and/or food.

A.A.R.F., is a non-profit animal rescue organization headquartered in Seahurst, Washington [EIN #26-0332102].  All donations are tax deductible.

Their mission is simple:

 “Animal Aid and Rescue Foundation is dedicated to supporting and promoting the preservation and well-being of all animals; both domestic and wildlife.”

Their primary focus is to become a constant and powerful source of information for the public. They hope through their Foundation, individuals and rescue groups will find assistance in their efforts and support for their cause. They believe that in working with rescue animals, they will able to discover things about within themselves, others, and their existence, that will provide insight and direction in all of their own lives. The benefit is not only on the animal’s part. Once someone has experienced this, it is never forgotten.

A.A.R.F.’s link:  www.myaarf.org

You can help us help Sundae help save lives and the amazing work that A.A.R.F. continues to do that greatly impact others, including the people who adopt and foster our four-legged friends.

Sundae’s link:  www.crowdrise.com/littlewonders

Her goal is $2500 and she is currently at $1095.00.  Please..help her raise the bar in achieving her goal.

We will be sharing more of Sundae’s story as the Seattle marathon start date as it comes closer.  We will also be sharing Sundae’s progress.

Thanks everyone!

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(c) 2013 The NW Fire Blog – LR Swenson


Calling All Female Firefighters Across the Globe for Special Feature Story: Women in the Fire Service

Let’s face it, Firefighting is a hard and dangerous profession career / volunteer job that anyone has ever had to face, but you do it because you love the sport in it.  When you are female, there can be some hurdles along the way but you have proven to the world that you have made it, displaying confidence, knowledge, strength and compassion. You have empowered women everywhere to follow in your footsteps tenfold and show that no matter what gender you are, you are succesful in everything that you do.

Young girls look up to you to see what you have done to blaze the trail for them to enter into the firefighting profession or as a volunteer. Some female teenagers go to fire camps to learn, experience and live it. Others have been waiting to be a firefighter all their life. Many have moved from being in EMS with a strong will and desire to become like one of you. No matter what avenue, a person has taken to get to this amazing point in their lives – it is YOU, the Firefighter that has blazed a trail for all Women in the Fire Service.

This project, FEMALE FIREFIGHTERS ACROSS THE GLOBE: From their Perspective (Title is a work in progress) is all about what or whom inspired you to become a Firefighter, what support do you have currently that encourages you to keep moving, how you and your crew mesh together? What attributes make a great Firefighter and what experiences can you share with others? What advice do you have that could help mold a person to become the best firefighter ever? How about the encouraging words you could give to the one whom may be struggling during the Training Academy? Or, to the one who has been hired on but is unsure of herself?

We know you all have successful careers or are dedicated volunteers with great stories, compassionate hearts, strong drive to continue with a job you love and a geniune unbreakable sisterhood bond that no other organization can match.

–> Here is a story originally published back in April 2012, with Seattle Fire’s Janae Carpenter.  Hoping this will inspire it just like it did for us. <–

Being in the company of a firefighter or a Medic is pretty awesome (even when you are hurt or not) and to watch them in action is very impressive. Some leave us in awe, but to have one as a friend is an honor and a privilege.

We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with one of Seattle Fire’s amazing firefighters, Janae Carpenter out of the Ballard firehouse #18, in April 2012.

SFD Firefighter Janae Carpenter in 2012.

SFD Firefighter Janae Carpenter in 2012.

Why does she stand out from the already many hundreds of amazing firefighters within the Seattle Fire Department?

Let me tell you about her story and where it all began for this former Alaskan native.  Things could have turned out so differently with this former Art student.  However, she had a great support system made up from family, friends and future Firefighters who helped guide her down a path of so many life’s aspirations not even yet tapped into.  Carpenter has turned many of these into multitudes of succeses both large and small.

“After watching the movie, “The Firefighter” with Actress Nancy McKeowen, firefighting peeked my interest.” says Carpenter.

In 1995, Carpenter began her four-year Art Major journey at the University of Alaska to become an Art teacher.  However, as fate would have it, she would find a more attuned interest in and love for firefighting as her professional career.

On a four-year volleyball scholarship, she didn’t really pursue her dream until 1997 when she applied, passing the physical and oral board with the University of Alaska Fire Department.  However, there was somewhat of a small glitch in her plan.  Her coach said she couldn’t be a firefighter with two-years remaining on her scholarship.

The Fire Chief made a commitment to Carpenter to hold the job open for the remaining two years.  In 1999, she was hired on with the University of Alaska Fire Department, after graduating with a BA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry with a Minor in American Sign Language.  She would also find herself with an AA in Fire Science.  The gifted Carpenter even had some of her artwork on display at a local gallery in Alaska.  Talk about being a woman of many talents!

One year later after a friend got married, a group of eight friends decided to come down and apply with the Seattle Fire Department. She was the only one to pass the written and oral becoming #54 on the list.  The class was later cut due to budget shortfalls.

 The following year in 2001, her and another group of friends would come back and retest with Seattle Fire once again.  She passed the written only moving down to the #150’s on the list.   Hired on with the department in February 2002, she would find another obstacle.

After moving here in February 2002, the City was experiencing another budget issue and were talking of laying off her and 20 other newly hired firefighters.  “With just moving here, with no job and no money.  Things were stressful not knowing.” she admits but after the budget was reconfigured – she is proud to put all of this behind her.

Carpenter would find herself entering the ranks with Ladder 11/C and on Engine 32/B.  She currently is quartered at Station 18’s Ballard Firehouse on Engine 18/C.  As a major accomplishment, she just celebrated her 10th Year Anniversary in March 2012. Congratulations!!

We know you have heard of these firefighting stories before, but  makes SFD’s Firefighter Janae Carpenter really stand out?

These are some of her amazing accomplishments both on and off the fireground:

1)  Female Firefighter for the last 10 years.

2)  Figure Competitor placing 1st, 2nd and 5th in Nationals.

3)  In April 2012, she competed at The Emerald Cup Figure Competition and at the Washington State Natural – Pro Qualifier.

4)  Miss May 2010 & 2011 and Miss February 2012 in the Washington State Firefighters Calendar; benefits the Northwest Burn  Foundation.

5)  The Susan G. Komen’s 3 Day, 60-mile event with walking with her mom, a Breast Cancer Survivor.

6)  Participant in the 2011 MS Walk.

7)  Fierce competitor with the Warrior Dash (extreme sports with obstacles and mud) – last 3 years.

As if that isn’t enough, she continues to keep the :

1)  Participated in two (2) Triatholons in 2012

2)  Dirty Dash (another extreme sports event).

3)  Two (2) Fishing Trips in Minnesota and Alaska.

We wish you well with your competitions and never give up your life’s dreams.  We are very inspired by your many talents.  Keep up the great work!

Thank you again. This project couldn’t be successfull without YOU.


Email: nwfireblog@comcast.net


LR (Lisa) Swenson – Editor/Public Safety Writer

(c) 2013 The NW Fire Blog