Honoring fallen brothers
On Sunday, June 30, 19 firefighters lost their lives in Arizona fighting a wildfire.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) this is the deadliest incident for firefighters since Sept. 11, 2001.
Washington firefighter Randy Tisor had one thought about the deaths.
“It’s sad,” Tisor said, “and kind of unbelievable.”
He said the types of fires the Arizona firefighters respond to are different than the calls the Washington Fire Department responds to.
“Every situation is different,” he said. “There are a lot of different things that goes through your mind when you’re responding to a fire.”
Most of the calls they respond to are grass fires, structures and vehicle fires.
“When you’re responding to a structure fire the main thing is getting everyone out safely,” Tisor said.
He has been on the Washington Fire Department since 1985, almost 28 years. He started out as a volunteer firefighter.
“It’s a job that people have to do,” he said. “It takes a lot of dedication and time.”
To be a part of the Washington Fire Department, an application must be submitted, Tisor said. If the application is accepted then the department gives the new member 18 months to complete their certification, which is 80 hours of classes.
Training doesn’t end with certification. Every year firefighters have to do 24 hours of continued training, Tisor said. Different types of training qualify for this.
“We do a lot of different training throughout the year,” he said. “We’ll do controlled burns and train with our air packs. Each training has different situations we may respond to.”
He said in his 28 years of firefighting there are two fires that he remembers, the fire on the square in 1990, and the fire at the chamber building in 2008.
As reported in The Journal’s Jan 13, 2008, edition, the former chamber building caught on fire on a Sunday afternoon. Firefighters from Washington, Ainsworth, Kalona, and Riverside spent six hours trying to extinguish the fire. The building was considered a total loss.