Arrow-right Camera

Washington Voices

Two firefighters’ action honored

The Spokane Valley Fire Department recognized two Spokane Valley police officers for their efforts in saving a man who suffered a heart attack. The award was given to officers Dale Wells and David Lawhorn during Monday’s meeting of the fire commissioners.

On March 24 Wells saw a man drive out of the Spokane Racquet Club parking lot on Fourth Avenue and go across the street, over an embankment, through a fence and into a parked car. The man was slumped in his seat and not breathing when Wells got to the car. Wells and Lawhorn performed CPR on the man until Spokane Valley Fire paramedics arrived. They used a defibrillator to get the man’s heart beating again and he eventually recovered from his heart attack.

Paramedic Dave Vegele was on the scene that day and helped present the award to the two officers, saying that he believes the two saved the man’s life by performing CPR. The officers received a standing ovation from the fire commissioners and Spokane Valley Fire Department Chief Mike Thompson. “It’s a real pleasure to work with the deputies in Spokane Valley,” Thompson said.

In other business, the commissioners also discussed entering into an interlocal agreement with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office for occasional use of its helicopter. “We used the helicopter during the Valley View Fire,” said Thompson.

While Thompson doesn’t expect to use the helicopter much, it can be useful on large fires. The helicopter’s infrared system could help firefighters locate unseen hot spots. Valley Fire would pay $625 per hour to use the helicopter, but there may occasionally be a cost adjustment since one of Valley Fire’s firefighters is one of the pilots, Thompson said. He flies on his days off, but the department did once allow him to leave his firefighting shift to pilot the helicopter when he was needed, even though it meant paying someone else overtime to cover his shift, Thompson said.

Commissioners seemed receptive to the agreement, but asked for clarification on some of the language. The agreement will be up for a vote at the next meeting. “I think it’s a good resource,” said Commissioner Bill Anderson.

Click here to comment on this story »