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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Firefighters injured in crash near Loon Lake identified

UPDATED: Wed., June 9, 2021

The three people killed in a collision between their car and a firetruck Monday evening remain unidentified as of Tuesday afternoon.

The firefighters who were injured in the crash have been identified as Glen Schade, 38, and Kurtis Vandervert, 45, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Both firefighters were transported to Multicare Deaconess North Emergency Center to be treated for their injuries.

Just before 4:30 p.m., a Stevens County Fire District 1 truck was driving south on U.S. Highway 395 with its lights and sirens on when a 2003 Mitsubishi Galant crossed the centerline.

Both cars swerved in an attempt to avoid hitting each other, according to WSP, but were unsuccessful and collided head on.

The car burst into flames upon impact, according to the driver of the fire truck. All three people in the car died.

The driver of the car was a man who was wearing his seat belt, according to WSP, but no further information was available. One of the passengers, a man, wasn’t wearing a seat belt while the third, who remains unidentified, had a seat belt on.

WSP detectives are investigating the crash.

“We are deeply saddened by today’s tragic collision; we are a part of this community, and our hearts are with the families and friends of those who have died,” Stevens County Fire District 1 Chief Mike Bucy said in a statement shortly after the crash.

The firefighters were treated and released Monday evening. Schade has a broken wrist that will be evaluated Wednesday to see if he needs surgery, Bucy said in an interview Tuesday.

Running a call with just two firefighters on board is the minimum, Bucy said, but the number of firefighters responding to a call can vary form shift to shift.

While the broken wrist is the “worst of it” when it comes to physical injuries, Bucy said the department is focused on supporting their firefighters’ mental health.

The crash comes after an early and busy wildland fire season that had firefighters “already drained from running a lot of calls,” Bucy said.

“Things add up,” he said.

The firetruck involved in the crash was totaled, and Bucy is working with the insurance company for a replacement. He hopes a suitable apparatus that fits the department’s needs will be available quickly, but if a rig has to be built, it could take a year and a half, Bucy said.

Nearby fire agencies have offered to lend equipment, Bucy said.

“We’ve had a ton of outpouring from both our fire service community across the country and the communities that we serve,” Bucy said. “And right now that’s extremely helpful.”

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