As if the threat of wildfires wasn’t enough to be concerned about, Okanogan County Fire District 6 is confronting another unexpected challenge — water damage at its Winthrop fire station.
A broken water main sent water into the station on Englar Street last Monday (Aug. 6), leaving 8 inches of standing water in the station, said Fire Chief Cody Accord.
The water damaged a training room, office spaces, and the areas where the fire vehicles are stored. Computers and furniture were damaged or destroyed, and the district is working with insurance adjustors, Acord said. “We had to pull everything out. It’s a challenge,” Acord said.
The district rents the station from the town of Winthrop, and town officials quickly called a company specializing in water damage, which set up fans and dehumidifiers.
Acord said firefighters will be working for several weeks in a station that “is already super small” and undergoing repairs to drywall and insulation.
For several years, District 6 has been planning to build a new station to replace the rented facility in Winthrop. However, plans have been stymied by lack of public support for a bond and a levy, proposed by the district on two different occasions, to fund construction. The district is still evaluating plans to build at a site it owns on Horizon Flats, and is completing an environmental assessment for the property required by the State Environmental Policy Act, Acord said.
The district had some recent good news, Acord said. It has hired Jeremiah Fosness of Winthrop to fill an open Division Chief position. Fosness, a volunteer firefighter with the district for 11 years, holds Firefighter 1 certification. He will take over volunteer training and, a professional mechanic, will help maintain the district vehicles, Acord said.