One less fire truck based in West Seattle after Sunday

June 28, 2012 at 10:39 pm | In Highland Park, Safety, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

(WSB photo of Ladder 13 and crew at scene of recent South Park fire)
The extra fire truck added to West Seattle in February of last year will be gone after this Sunday. So say multiple sources who called and e-mailed to tell us that Ladder 13, based at Highland Park’s Station 11, will be taken out of service as of Monday morning, leaving Engine 11 alone at the station.

Ladder 13′s primary purpose, as explained when it first arrived, was to make sure West Seattle would be adequately covered despite the fact Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project work complicated WS Bridge access for the emergency units that come from the other side of the bay when there’s a major incident. Now, the new 1st Avenue South onramp is available for emergency vehicles – per a newly installed sign on the westbound SSV. (However, last year it was also explained that Ladder 13 would help cover South Park, which won’t have fast access from crews east of the Duwamish till the new SP Bridge opens more than a year from now.)

The eventual end of Ladder 13 – commissioned just for this task, not a pre-existing truck number moved from elsewhere – was mentioned here back in February, when it was a topic of conversation during our stop at Station 11 on Neighbor Appreciation Day. The fire station is supposed to get a seismic/safety upgrade soon – as explained here – and we were told in February that would happen after Ladder 13′s departure. The timetable is one of the things we’re asking SFD about for a followup, but in the meantime, if you see Ladder 13′s crew out and about in the next few days, you might consider taking the opportunity to say thanks for their West Seattle/South Park service.

ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: We had asked SFD some followup questions. Spokesperson Kyle Moore notes that West Seattle’s “permanent ladder truck,” Ladder 11, will continue to be based at Station 32 in The Triangle, staffed by a four-person crew. Regarding South Park, he says:

South Park is served by Fire Station 26 located at 800 South Cloverdale Street. The station is staffed 24 hours a day with four firefighters and a fire engine.

The loss off Ladder 13 will have a nominal impact on the response times to the South Park area. The Seattle Fire Department looked at response times with the bridge closure in order to ensure the residents of South Park received the same level of medical and fire care. Our analysis shows that response times were not significantly affected by the bridge closure.

He also notes that the Station 11 work isn’t likely to start before early 2014.

12 Comments

  1. So, how are they going to rescue people from all the highrise condos going in? We’ve apparently allowed developers to double the height we have now. Are tenants supposed to jump out the windows?

    Comment by Mike — 10:46 pm June 28, 2012 #

  2. Where will this fire truck go after Sunday? Is it a back up truck?

    Comment by LyndaB — 11:53 pm June 28, 2012 #

  3. We knew this day was coming… that unit was funded though SDOT’s budget.
    Ladder 13 responed to 730 calls last year while Ladder 11 also in WS responed to 708. The year before L11 had 802 calls (per SFD web page)so that is an increase of 600 calls over all between the two units. Seems like Ladder 13 has earned it’s keep. Maybe it is time to keep Ladder 13 around. Write to the city council and the SFD make some noise the life that is saved could be your own or someone you know.

    If station 11 is slated for upgrades move Ladder 13 to the new Station 37 on 35th it has an extra bay not being used and I am sure they have bunk space as well that could accommendate the additional unit… time is now the keep Ladder 13 in service in WS

    Comment by Karl — 6:01 am June 29, 2012 #

  4. My son will be heartbroken!

    Comment by Amanda — 6:59 am June 29, 2012 #

  5. I fins it curious that SDOT doesn’t want to pay for Ladder 13 yet will pay for the 2 traffic cops at 1st and Spokane St. to stand around and BS all day. I think most people are able to figure out on their own to stop when the light is red and go when the light turns green. It’s my understanding that any emergency vehicle using the new 1st Ave. on ramp will first have to stop and move the barricade, let the vechile pass through, then put the barricade back before continuing on their way. When minutes or seconds count in any emergency it is curious that SFD would be pressured into accepting this to save SDOT a few dollars. Who was at fault for all the delays this project has encurred? Certainly not the citizens of West Seattle.

    Comment by just curious — 9:14 am June 29, 2012 #

  6. One of the reasons Ladder 13 responded to so many calls is because if Engine 11 is on a call and another call for Highland Park comes in they send Ladder 13. It has been very nice to have the extra coverage during this time, I’m sure it has saved lives in Highland Park. Now the closest unit will be Engine 37 up on 35th and Holden.Thank You SFD and Ladder 13 for your service we will sure miss you. I am the son of a retired Seattle Firefighter and the brother of a Chief in Seattle. I always say thank you to any Firefighter I see.

    Comment by H P Resident — 10:50 am June 29, 2012 #

  7. I have a fondness in my heart for Ladder 13 after the Arbor Heights fire last summer. I wish we could keep you guys around here. Thanks to all the Ladder 13 firefighters and especially to Patrick, one of the tillers. It’s not every day a ladder drives down my alley and the Tiller calls out “how are the pancakes?”.

    Comment by D-Mom — 1:38 pm June 29, 2012 #

  8. “Where will this fire truck go after Sunday? Is it a back up truck?”

    The apparatus will rotate into the fleet based upon it’s age/mileage. Usually, the newest apparatus are utilized as the front-line rigs, while a number of older apparatus are maintained as spares and for training division use.

    Comment by ltfd — 9:25 pm June 29, 2012 #

  9. Over the period of time that Ladder 13 was at station 11. Engine 11 only had 125 fewer calls
    So my point is with out taking away any responces from any other units, the area and ladder 13 responded to an addition 475 calls seems with the growth on this side of the bridge and when seconds count public out cry will keep ladder 13 in service.\
    look at the facts as presented on SFD webpage, the numbers don’t lie

    Comment by Karl — 5:36 pm June 30, 2012 #

  10. thanks, ltfd!

    Comment by LyndaB — 10:47 am July 1, 2012 #

  11. I am a retired Seattle firefighter. I worked at Station 11 and at Station 26 and at Station 32 and was the Battlion Chief for West Seattle. Yes L-13 is needed, however with the bridge construction done L-7 will fill the need for a 2 Ladder Compnay response wich was the main reason for L-13 in the first place. I would add that with the bridge work being done in South Park that a Ladder Company would be nice. L-13 is all overtime Firefighters. Thanks for your interest.

    Comment by Bill Rice — 5:59 pm July 2, 2012 #

  12. Actually, none of us were overtime. We were all assigned temporarily

    Comment by L13 — 10:42 pm July 2, 2012 #

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