Orcas Fire Chief’s report


Orcas Fire Chief

Orcas Fire and Rescue responded to the following calls.

Structure fire

On Jan. 1 at 3 a.m. the Shaw Island Fire Department requested assistance with a structure fire on Shaw Island. Four OIFR firefighters responded with a WASP fire engine and a water tender truck.

Pediatric asthma

On Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. crews responded to the Orcas Elementary School to evaluate a child with a history of asthma and difficulty breathing.  After emergency medical treatment and consultation with the parents, the child was able to finish out the day at school without further problems.

Orcas CARES program assist

On Jan. 6 at 1 p.m.  an OIFR volunteer working through the CARES program provided a wellness check and assistance to an elderly Eastsound resident.  Orcas CARES is a volunteer assistance program that helps seniors and others who require help and is sponsored by OIFR. Orcas CARES program partners include the Orcas Senior Center, Lahari, Orcas Lions, Hearts and Hands and others.

Hip fracture

On Jan. 6 at 3 p.m.  OIFR assisted an Eastsound woman who sustained a significant hip injury. The patient was treated for pain, splinted and transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to Island Hospital in Anacortes via Island Air Ambulance.

Breathing difficulty, infection

On Jan. 8 at 2 a.m. OIFR assisted an Orcas man with shortness of breath and a probable infection. Due to weather constraints, the patient was observed and emergency medical treatment continued for four hours until an ambulance was able to transport the patient to a mainland hospital via the first morning ferry.


On Jan. 9 at 10 a.m. an Orcas resident with a sudden onset of chest pain was evaluated and treated by Orcas Island Fire and Rescue. The patient was transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to Skagit Valley Hospital in Mt. Vernon via Airlift Northwest.

Internal bleeding

On Jan. 12 at 4:30 a.m. OIFR assisted a male with signs and symptoms of internal bleeding. The patient was treated and transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to a hospital in Seattle by Airlift Northwest.

Diabetic emergency

On Jan. 16 at 1 a.m. crews assisted a man with complications of diabetes. The patient was treated and transported by ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to St. Joseph’s Hospital via Airlift Northwest.

Decreased level of consciousness

On Jan. 18 at 2 a.m. OIFR responded to a report of an unconscious person. After the paramedic and EMTs arrived and evaluated the patient, it was determined that the probable cause of the problem was a reaction to medication. The patient’s condition stabilized and the patient was able to remain at home with family.

Fall with complications

On Jan. 21 at 10:30 a.m. OIFR assisted an adult patient who had fallen and displayed other medical complications. The patient was treated and transported to a local physician’s office by OIFR ambulance where it was determined that additional care was required.  Orcas CARES volunteers were able to provide assistance until the patient could be transported to Peace Island Hospital in Friday Harbor.

Possible propane gas leak

On Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. crews responded to the report of a propane odor inside a residence. Firefighters arrived and investigated the situation. It was determined that there was no hazard and the residents returned to their home.

Structure fire

On Jan. 23, 2015, 11:40 a.m., OIFR was dispatched to a home on Pine Ridge Drive in the White Beach neighborhood for the report of a structure fire. The homeowner was on location and reported the fire had started around the vicinity of the wood stove that was in operation. Firefighters arrived to find a 2,000 -square-foot detached shop structure fully engulfed in flames. Twenty-five OIFR members and 10 fire and aid vehicles responded. Due to the narrow wooded road conditions, an OIFR SUV was put to use hauling personnel and equipment to the fire scene. Through the hard work of the responders, the fire was quickly brought under control. Due to the building construction and the nature of the contents, an excavator from Orcas Construction Company assisted in fully extinguishing the fire. There were no injuries to civilians or responders and the incident was deemed to be accidental in nature.


On Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.  OIFR was called by a physician at the Orcas Medical Center to assist in the care of a woman who had lost a significant amount of blood.  Due to poor weather, air evacuation was not possible and OIFR volunteers and a paramedic transported the woman to Island Hospital in Anacortes in stable condition by ambulance via a Washington State Ferry.


On Jan. 27 at 11 a.m.  OIFR was dispatched to a local physician’s office to assist a patient with a possible neurologic issue. The patient was treated and transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to St. Joseph’s Hospital via Airlift Northwest.

News and events

Special thanks to Patricia Ayers who has transitioned from her assignment as the OIFR Administrative Services Manager and will serve as the Secretary of the Board of Fire Commissioners. Pat has been a long-time volunteer EMT and Rescue responder and began as a part-time employee in 2013. We are fortunate to have Pat on our team!

With two administrative positions open by the transitions of Lindsay Schirmer and Patricia Ayers, OIFR has hired Mary Tanner as our Administrative Assistant for Financial Services and Jana Webb as our Administrative Assistant for Human Resources.

Mary is a long-time island resident with many friends and deep roots on Orcas. She will make a great member of our team. Jana recently relocated to Orcas with her family, Orcas School Superintendent Eric Webb, and their son McCabe, a ninth grader, and their daughter Mesa, a freshman at Western Washington University. Welcome Mary and Jana!

OIFR has made an “Assistance to Firefighters Grant” request for the replacement of firefighting turnout gear, self-contained breathing apparatus, an air supply trailer and thermal imaging cameras. We should receive a decision in late spring of 2015.

We are currently recruiting EMTs to fill a class targeted for the fall of 2015 and firefighters for a class scheduled in the winter of 2016. Contact Volunteer Coordinator Mindy Kayl at mkayl@orcasfire.org or call 376-2331 for info.