Feb. 16, 1987: Fire at Everett Community College

On Feb. 16, 1987, an 18-year veteran of the Everett Fire Department was killed battling an arson at Everett Community College.

From the next day’s issue of The Herald.

“Everett firefighters today mourned the loss of an experienced colleague they described as generous and fun-loving.

Killed in the Monday morning blaze that consumed a major portion of the Everett Community College campus was 18-year veteran Gary Parks, 48.

Fire officials said he lost his way inside the burning complex, apparently after stopping to share his oxygen with another firefighter who’d run out of air.

What was described as a “flash over” — a rolling ball of flame — got behind a crew of four firefighters, including Parks, that had gone inside to battle the flames. Three were able to follow their hose lines out, crawling on their hands and knees, but Parks remained inside.

The arson case is still unsolved.

A memorial was held on the 25th anniversary of Parks’ death.

Herald reporter Rikki King wrote:

Firefighters spoke of how losing Gary Parks a quarter-century ago devastated them. Yet they know he died doing what he loved: protecting his community.

Parks’ death left a “huge hole” that can’t be forgotten, Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said.

Everett Community College’s new student union is named for the firefighter.

Read more from The Herald’s Feb. 17, 1987, issue and others in our collection of historic front pages.

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