KIRO Newsradio Headlines: Seattle Fire Department logs record overtime during pandemic

Aug 29, 2022, 4:13 PM | Updated: 4:35 pm


Seattle Fire Department medics transport a stabbing victim on March 10, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Severe staffing shortages and the pandemic get the bulk of the blame for record overtime at the Seattle Fire Department last year.

The nearly $38 million Seattle Fire shelled out last year was an approximately 50% jump from 2019 and the most ever in department history. A Seattle Times analysis found when ranked by the number of hours paid to work – the top 30 city employees were all firefighters.

The top 10 worked more than 4,000 hours in 2021 – or two years of 40 hours a week within a single year. In at least four cases, Seattle Fire acknowledged a firefighter likely broke rules by working multiple back-to-back 24-hour shifts without a required rest in between shifts.

Much of the overtime was linked to extra duties SFD took on during the pandemic, such as administrating COVID vaccines.

SFD also lost nearly 100 firefighters to retirement or firing – at least some of those due to the vaccine mandate.

Inslee’s pauses leveling of four dams along Snake River

Gov. Inslee wants to knock down four Snake River dams to save salmon and steelhead, but in a surprise to some, he is not pushing to do it any time soon.

Even though some fish runs are on the endangered species list, Inslee said alternatives for the hydropower, transportation, and agricultural benefits the dams provide need to be in place first.

But Miles Johnson from Columbia Riverkeeper told us that might be too late.

Most of the region’s power and agricultural representatives said it would ruin the Northwest economy to remove the dams with no alternatives in place.

A requested rate hike from PSE could be slashed by close to half

The UTC Commission will take public comment on the proposed rate hike in a virtual meeting on September 28.

Puget Sound Energy had proposed a rate hike over the next two years for electric and gas customers that would have totaled over $600 million in revenue over the next two years. That would have cost consumers about $16 more a month for electricity and $12 for gas.

A consumer unit in the state attorney general’s office opposed the request, arguing it would lead to unfair profits. Now, staff at the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission said there’s a potential settlement that – if approved by commissioners – would green light $350 million in revenue increases over two years for PSE. That amounts to a roughly $11.50 monthly increase for average electric customers and just over $6 for gas.

Ichiro inducted into Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame

It was a love fest at T-Mobile Park Saturday night.

Former Mariner and baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki was inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame.
Ichiro paid tribute to his former teammates and, of course, his devoted fans.

Unfortunately, after leading for eight innings and producing three solo shot home runs, the M’s couldn’t produce a win on this special night, falling to the Cleveland Guardians 4-3.

Listen to KIRO Newsradio on 97.3 FM. Stream it live here.

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KIRO Newsradio Headlines: Seattle Fire Department logs record overtime during pandemic