Firefighters welcome new rescue unit to Edmonds fire station

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The official "housing" ceremony in Edmonds Friday.

Firefighters welcomed Snohomish County Fire District 1’s new heavy rescue unit to its home at Edmonds Fire Station 16 with a traditional fire service “housing” ceremony Friday.

“This new unit is a valuable regional resource that will be available to respond to a wide range of emergency situations requiring specialized rescue equipment. This includes major disasters with building collapses like we’ve seen in Japan,” said Fire Chief Ed Widdis.

The “housing” ceremony that welcomed the rescue unit to Fire Station 16 dates back to the 1830s. Part of the ceremony included having firefighters push the new truck into the firehouse, a custom from the days of horse-drawn equipment, which could not be easily backed into the station.

Capt. Dave Ruddell, who spearheaded the rescue unit project, had the honor of being at the wheel of the new truck as fellow members of the Fire District 1 Technical Rescue Team pushed the rig into the station at 8427 196th St. S.W. in Edmonds. Team members are firefighters with advanced training in urban search and rescue, confined-space operations, trench rescue, high- and low-angle rope operations and ice and surface water rescue.

The new rescue unit is specifically designed to support the team’s operations. It replaces a 20-year-old retired fire engine that had been converted to hold rescue gear. The new unit can carry more than twice the gear and equipment.

A federal grant paid $320,000 of the rescue unit’s total cost of $450,000. The remainder was paid for by Fire District 1.

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