Mount Vernon fire station burns down, leaves volunteers with a lot of work

Mar 20, 2024, 2:28 PM | Updated: 2:29 pm

Skagit Fire Dept. fire...

Fire likely set by arsonist partially destroys Lake McMurray firehouse. (Photo: Lake McMurray Fire Dept.)

(Photo: Lake McMurray Fire Dept.)

It would be easy to make the Lake McMurray firehouse the butt of a joke. The fire station burned down. But, the blaze at the Mount Vernon station was serious.

“I’m not sure if I’m laughing or crying at this point,” Stuart Kranick, the Chief of Skagit County Fire District 15, told KIRO Newsradio. “We were working to become a Red Cross shelter by putting in an emergency backup generator, and we added a larger propane tank so we could have a place that would have the heat on and water, supplies, and things for the community. This is another thing that hurts us in that quest.”

The station suffered heavy damage when it caught fire early Tuesday morning.

Kranick said the fire destroyed the station office. They lost their computer, all their files and some expensive training programs.

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Appears arsonist set fire to toilet in Mount Vernon fire station

Kranick said it appeared an arsonist set fire to a portable toilet.

It was there because the station was undergoing repairs after pipes burst in January’s cold.

“We’re thankful that we didn’t lose the whole building, but there was certainly a lot of damage,” Kranick explained

“They were able to pull our vehicles out of the station, fortunately,” Kranick said. “So our vehicles weren’t destroyed in the fire.”

He told us his fire station’s sad story while sick in bed.

Kralnick also recounted that while station repairs were underway, one of Lake McMurray’s fire trucks was deemed too old to repair and pulled from service. Darrington’s fire department heard the news and is giving them a surplus fire truck.

Other fire department news: Whatcom County Fire Captain dies off-duty in snowboarding accident

“That fire truck was supposed to be picked up today, but we’re going to leave it in Darrington because we don’t have a station to put it in.”

Kranick said that his 20 volunteers from Fire District 15 can still respond to emergencies, and two other neighboring fire station crews are ready to step in if needed.

“I’m definitely a little overwhelmed. It’s a tough job even without the extra issues,” Kranick said. “We’re all volunteers, and it takes a lot of time to organize this and come back from that, and it’s going to be a struggle.”

Kranick is a volunteer with a family and a full-time job in tech. He said that just like the burst pipes, his team of 20 will have to fight fires, deal with their insurance company, and then replace and rebuild after the fire.

Diane Duthweiler is an editor at KIRO Newsradio and Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest.

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Mount Vernon fire station burns down, leaves volunteers with a lot of work