The benefits of
partnership between the Tribe and the community were celebrated
by those who participated in the Blessing of the Blyn Fire
Station on September 8, 2008. Those benefits include both the
fire station and the services provided by the career firefighters
and emergency medical technicians stationed there.
Attended by Clallam County Commissioners Steve Tharinger, Mike
Chapman and Mike Doherty, Fire Commissioners Barnfather, Coffey
and Houts, Police Chief Spinks, Sheriff Benedict and many other
local dignitaries, the event combined Jamestown S’Klallam and
Firefighter ritual, in a joint celebration of the expansion of
public safety into the easternmost parts of Clallam County.
Chief Steve Vogel hailed the collaboration as a win for all
involved, citing former Fire Chief and Tribal citizen Tom Lowe as
“the spark that got it going.” Lowe recalls discussing a Blyn
fire station with Tribal Chair Ron Allen 20 years ago.
Pat Adams performing the Blessing with Fire Chief Steve
Vogel & Vice Chair Liz Mueller
“I am proud of my Tribal citizenship and of my long association
with the Fire District,” said Tom Lowe, who retired as Fire Chief
eight years ago. “This fire station is a good thing for the
“This fire station will reduce response time to Blyn and Diamond
Point, as the county grows eastward, for fires and motor vehicle
accidents,” said Vogel, adding that starting today; the station
will be manned 24 hours a day by a firefighter and a paramedic.
Vogel expects that homeowners’ fire insurance rates across the
county will decrease, as the Washington Survey and Rating Bureau
reevaluates the public protection provided by Fire District #3,
now that it has a new station in Blyn.
Jerry Allen, 7 Cedars Resort Assistant Manager, thanked all
involved, stating “Chief Vogel made it happen.”
Tribal Council Chair Ron Allen stressed the importance of the
Tribe making a contribution to our community, and “putting Blyn
back on the map.” He called the firefighters and paramedics who
work for Fire District #3 “our front line warriors.”
Tribal Council Vice-Chair Liz Mueller added that the fire
district had already provided an opportunity for a Tribal youth
(Danny Hall, in 2006 and 2007) to intern in fire safety, and she
hoped that other youth would want to consider firefighting as a
career in the future.
Tribal citizen Patrick Adams and his wife Patsy blessed the
station and its personnel, smudging to the four directions and
all those involved in the project, and then singing the family
song. Then, personnel from the Fire District officially retired
the Louella Road Station, and officially opened the Blyn Station,
at exactly 11:26 a.m. This was followed by the retirement of the
1981 fire truck, and the dedication of the newly purchased 2008
pumper truck, purchased by the District for the Blyn Station.
Tom Lowe drove the 1981 truck to Sequim from Wisconsin in 1981,”
said Vogel. “In our traditional fashion, we will pull the old
truck out, remove the placards, put them on the new truck, and
push it into the station.”
That was followed by, in place of the traditional ribbon cutting,
the “uncoupling of the fire hose,” with a line up of dignitaries
on both sides of the connection.
A collaboration between the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Clallam
County Fire District #3, the Blyn Fire Station is a
self-contained 10,000 square foot firehouse designed by architect
Mike Gentry, and built by Jack Grinnell Construction in only 70
days. The Tribe contributed $1.5 million toward land and
construction, to which the Fire District added $400,000. The Fire
District will staff and manage the station, which features
offices, a full kitchen and living area, four bedrooms, and a
second story exercise room with a beautiful view of Sequim Bay.
Although staffed by volunteers for the past few months, on the
day of the Blessing, the station staff was shifted to career
firefighters to serve the fire needs of the local population and
the nearby Tribal government offices and businesses. Services
will also be provided to the seven-story resort which the Tribe
will build in the next several years.