Firefighter Bill Ekse helped coordinate part of a statewide effort to get old firefighting gear to crews in Peru who are dealing with disaster. Mill Creek’s Fire District 7 donated 20 sets of the gear. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Firefighter Bill Ekse helped coordinate part of a statewide effort to get old firefighting gear to crews in Peru who are dealing with disaster. Mill Creek’s Fire District 7 donated 20 sets of the gear. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Clearview firefighter takes part in effort to donate surplus gear

CLEARVIEW — Some of the gear went back as far as 1992.

National rules for firefighters say they can’t use protective clothing 10 years after the manufacture date. It usually becomes surplus after that point.

Fire District 7, based in Clearview, recently got news that gear was needed in Peru. The South American country has been hit this year by devastating floods.

The call went out in April from the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters. The efforts also involved the Peruvian Consulate of Seattle.

“There were fire departments from all over the area that were donating,” District 7 spokeswoman Heather Chadwick said.

District 7’s acting Lt. Bill Ekse is known to get stuff done. He found himself coordinating the district’s effort. It was a chance to help others in need, he said.

He went from station to station and picked up more than 30 sets of bunker gear, including helmets. He made sure the surplus paperwork was completed and that inventories were updated accordingly.

When he got to the collection site in King County, two shipping crates already were full, he said.

“I wish we had more time,” he said.

“We probably could have gotten more stuff together.”

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