WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE REOPENING: Will the extra Seattle Fire units stay or go?

Some of what’s happened in the past two and a half years of West Seattle Bridge closure will change when it reopens – no more low-bridge restrictions, for example. Some things will stay – like all those new speed humps/cushions installed in various neighborhoods. But at least one major matter remains unsettled: The fate of Seattle Fire Ladder 13 and Medic 26.

(WSB photo: Ladder 13 at a West Seattle fire response in July)

A few months after the bridge closed, those two units were activated from SFD reserves and added to West Seattle/South Park to supplement what’s already based at the six area fire stations – Ladder 13 was added to Station 37 in Sunrise Heights, Medic 26 was added to Station 26 in South Park. The additions doubled the local availability of those two types of apparatus – previously the only ladder truck and medic unit in the area were Ladder 11 and Medic 32 at Station 32 in the Junction/Triangle area. We don’t know the total cost of basing those resources here, but in the original May 2020 announcement, SFD said that just for the remainder of that year, “funding required for staffing the two new units, apparatus maintenance and fuel, and room accommodations at the fire stations [would be] approximately $2.5 million.” Whether they’ll be deactivated – meaning that in responses where an extra truck or medic unit is needed, they’d be sent from outside the area – has yet to be decided.

A source suggested that Fire Chief Harold Scoggins supports keeping them here, so we asked SFD first; spokesperson Kristin Tinsley would say only that “The future of Ladder 13 and Medic 26 will be determined in the budgetary process.” That process begins shortly, with the mayor presenting a proposed budget and the City Council starting months of reviewing it, culminating with finalization of a budget in November. So we asked West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold – who also chairs the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, which among other things deals with fire/police issues. She meets regularly with Chief Scoggins and told us that in August, “I brought the issue up with him as well and requested that both be maintained. It was apparent to me in that conversation that the Chief understands the clear need for these resources to be maintained.” Right now, SFD confirms, the two units are funded through the end of this year, so they’ll stay at least a few months beyond the bridge reopening. If you have comments for the mayor about this or anything else as he drafts a budget, contact info is here; council contact info is here.

8 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE REOPENING: Will the extra Seattle Fire units stay or go?"

  • Mary September 16, 2022 (12:23 pm)

    Will some buses (21, 50, 120, 125) continue to travel over the low bridge and stop on Harbor Island still?

    • WSB September 16, 2022 (12:58 pm)


      • Curious September 16, 2022 (1:32 pm)

        Is that supposed to be a “no”? Slight typo?

        • WSB September 16, 2022 (2:36 pm)

          Sorry, typing in bright sunlight while awaiting bridge event. Fixing.

    • Leon S Kennedy September 16, 2022 (2:33 pm)

      That stop proved to be a VERY convenient transfer point for buses in and out of West Seattle. I used to jump from the 120 to the 21 a couple of times to get from Delridge to SODO. 

      • CheeseWS777 September 17, 2022 (11:18 pm)

        It is just a very convenient place to stop in general without that bus stop there is none all the way from chelan cafe all the way till 1st avenue. A long ways if your stuck walking in between

  • Tracey September 16, 2022 (1:27 pm)

    The SFD is chronically understaffed with OT being the norm and “brown outs” due to lack of staff especially in communities like Ballard.  Until SFD is fully staffed and OT controlled, I can’t see keeping these additional units.  

  • ~Hockeywitch~ September 16, 2022 (1:54 pm)

    I hope Ladder 13 and Medic 26 stay where they are at. There have been a few times that both ladder trucks were needed at the same time and 1 can’t be at both places at the same time. Same with the medic unit…

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