First responders honored for work at Oso mudslide

OSO — It was a brief ceremony, just a few minutes in duration.

Snohomish County Executive John Lovick read a proclamation declaring Thursday a time to honor first responders “whose sacrifice can never be repaid.”

Inside the Oso Fire Hall were medics and firefighters from around the county. The gathering served as a reunion for many of those who worked together after the deadly March 22 mudslide.

Oso Fire Chief Willy Harper recalled that difficult Saturday and how thankful he was to see fire trucks roll in to help from what seemed like “each and every district.”

Travis Hots, the rural Arlington fire chief who served as operations commander in the early days after the slide, said help seemed to pour in “from Index to Darrington, and everywhere in between.”

Arlington Fire Chief Bruce Stedman worked for more than three decades in Los Angeles County, where he was called to a wide range of disasters, including earthquakes and wildfires. The Oso slide was by far the biggest catastrophe of his career.

“Coming from LA, I figured I’d seen it all,” he said.

Some good has come from the tragedy, he said. Fire districts have grown closer to one another, and closer to other agencies, including the Washington State Patrol, public works departments, and the state Department of Transportation.

“We just have to cherish these relationships, and to build upon them,” he said. “That is what is going to serve the community best.”

Stedman said the feeling of unity was particularly true among firefighters. In the past, when they trained with other departments, it was as though they were cousins, “but now they are our brothers.”

More in Local News

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Inslee proposes tapping reserves, carbon tax in budget plan

The proposal also includes money for the mental health system and efforts to fight opioid addiction.

One dead in crash south of Granite Falls

Two cars collided near the intersection of N. Lake Roesiger Road and Hidden Valley Road.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Counties fed up with unfunded mandates may sue the state

For example, no money has been provided to install, maintain and clear out required ballot boxes.

Pain lingers decade after recession

No matter how good things are now, it’s impossible to forget how the collapse affected people.

Most Read