After close call, Seattle Fire isn’t taking any chances in Pioneer Square

Jun 26, 2018, 9:37 AM | Updated: 10:13 am

crime, Pioneer Square, Seattle Fire...

Police investigate a deadly stabbing in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood earlier this week. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

The Seattle Fire Department is sending twice the number of firefighters to some areas of Pioneer Square due to safety concerns.

RELATED: Did you know there is a national park in Pioneer Square?

Firefighters respond to dozens of medical calls a day in the neighborhood for everything from a twisted ankle to drug overdoses. Many of those calls involve homeless people.

Normal protocol is to send an aid car, typically staffed with two people. After an incident last month, that’s no longer the case in certain parts of Pioneer Square. In areas around Second Avenue Extension South, Washington and Third Avenue South, and in all homeless encampments in the area, the department will send at least two units. That means six to eight first responders are being dispatched for security purposes.

The new policy took effect May 21, three days after two firefighters responding to an assault call in Pioneer Square were surrounded by a large group while trying to help the patient. While one treated a patient, the other tried to keep the crowd back, but eventually called police for help when the crowd interfered and created a potentially dangerous situation for the firefighters. The department was short on details of why that crowd was interfering. However, this is an area near the Union Gospel Mission men’s shelter and Downtown Emergency Services Center where open-air drug use and other criminal activities are known to occur.

Currently, Seattle Police are only automatically sent with fire units to calls around the area in the East Duwamish Greenbelt near I-5 and I-90 — the area generally referred to as The Jungle.

Under this new Pioneer Square protocol, fire crews will still call police if they feel an area is unsafe or has the potential to become unsafe and leave the area until cops can secure the scene.

The one additional cost that stems from this policy is paying for additional fuel, according to a city representative.

Seattle Fire calls this a temporary change in policy, though there is no clear end date.

Local News

seattle shooting Garfield suspects...

L.B. Gilbert

Seattle Police looking for info on Garfield HS shooting suspects

Seattle police are looking for information that would help them identify two suspects in a shooting last Thursday near Garfield High School.

14 hours ago

Funko headquarters...

Bill Kaczaraba

No fun at Funko as move from Everett goes south

Everett took a big hit when Funko moved a large part of its operations to Arizona. Now, the bobblehead company faces a class action lawsuit.

14 hours ago

Virginia Mason Health...

L.B. Gilbert

Death toll rises to 9 in bacteria outbreak at Virginia Mason

Virginia Mason has confirmed that the death count has risen to nine in a bacteria outbreak at the Seattle hospital.

14 hours ago

Skyway shooting...

Kate Stone

‘Just another day’ after shooting at Skyway apartment building

The King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) is investigating after two people were injured in a shooting Thursday morning in Skyway.

14 hours ago

bellevue firefighters...

Lisa Brooks

All in the family: Kids join Dad as Bellevue firefighters

We don't often hear of a son and daughter following their father into the same job as firefighters, but that's what's happened in Bellevue.

14 hours ago

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

Deborah Horne, KIRO 7 News

Non-paying public not allowed into South King County ‘Public Safety Summit’

A summit took place on Wednesday to address the crime plaguing South King County. The goal is to do a better job of keeping people safe.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

After close call, Seattle Fire isn’t taking any chances in Pioneer Square