News

Snoqualmie and North Bend Fireman join forces at mill

Reprinted from the Snoqualmie Valley Record,

January 21, 1960

Coordinated efforts of the Snoqualmie and North Bend Volunteer fire departments and plant

fire-fighting personnel, with all hands combating scorching heat

and smoke, held what might have been a disastrous blaze

to a minimum Monday afternoon when one of the long Weyerhaeuser log stacks near the barker was swept

by flames.

Upwards of 200,000 board feet of hemlock and

plywood logs were in the main stack. A spark from a

distant trash pile fire was borne by the high wind,

which subsequently hampered the firefighters. The fire

started near the middle of the log pile, and within minutes

turned the huge logs into a raging inferno.

Buck Dovenberg, in charge of plant security,

summoned the Snoqualmie Fire Department shortly

after noon, and the plant equipment and tanker trucks

were rushed in from the out-laying points. The North

Bend firefighters joined the others at the scene as soon as

word reached that fire hall, and several miles of hose

were strung out to pour the mill pond water upon the

crackling logs.

Parallel Stack in Peril

No blaze in a hearth ever burned with greater fury

or intensity, and the whiplash wind from the southeast

made fire fighting difficult as well as hazardous. A

parallel stack of some 75,000 feet of logs was in constant

danger of catching fire, and only the constant play of

water in between the two stacks saved them. Jim

Tobacco wheeled in the mobile grapple and deftly snaked

logs out of the center of the endangered log pile so

streams of water could be pumped into the adjacent

inferno. Overhead a power pole ignited near the cross arm,

and within half an hour a hole burned through the pole

just as though a cannon ball had been drilled through

it. PSP&L crews were on the scene and the power was

cut before the upper part of the pole toppled.

By 2:30 p.m. it looked as though nothing could

check the fire. Somehow by 4 p.m. what seemed

impossible had been accomplished _ the fire was under control

in the main stack _ with damage held to a minimum.

No estimate of the total loss can be made until the

damaged logs can be scaled and processed.

Story of Teamwork

Company equipment kept a steady stream of water on the logs over night, Monday, and on Tuesday

the seared logs were being dumped into a boom in the

log pond.

On Tuesday Harry E. Morgan, Jr., plant manager, told the

Record:

"The teamwork of our Valley's Volunteer Firemen

_ coordinated by Fire District 38 _ was a vivid

demonstration of how our communities can work together

to combat disaster. I can't begin to say how much

admiration I have for the North Bend and Snoqualmie

Volunteers. I have seen several volunteer fire departments

in action but never have seen any better teamwork.

Without their prompt and concerted action, the loss

could have been severe."

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