EMS responds to high-profile emergency calls

Local EMS responders from Siuslaw Valley, Western Lane and Florence Police respond to an accident that snapped a power pole along Highway 101. (Photos by Ned Hickson/Siuslaw News)

A mid-day accident on Highway 101 across from McDonald’s prompted the highway’s closure for 40 minutes Wednesday

Feb. 6, 2021 — It was a busy day on Wednesday as Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue (SVFR) got a call-out first thing in the morning and stayed active throughout the day.

Starting at 6:25 a.m. on Feb. 3, SVFR responded to reports of a fire at Goodwill, 1310 Highway 101 in Florence.

SVFR personnel were joined at the scene by members of both Western Lane Ambulance District (WLAD) and Florence Police Department, according to Fire/EMS Chief Michael Schick.

“The first crews on scene found a small fire on the loading dock at the rear of the building, which appeared to have started directly behind a semi-trailer that was parked against the dock,” Schick said. “The fire was quickly extinguished with minimal damage noted to the exterior of the building. A small amount of smoke did enter the warehouse storage area in the building requiring ventilation fans to be used and no injuries were reported.”

The central location of the fire, along with the response of multiple types of emergency apparatus led to numerous calls to SVFR and to the Siuslaw News requesting information on the incident.

 “We noticed the many posts on social media commenting on the number of lights, sirens and emergency apparatus on the scene,” said Schick. “Even though this fire fortunately turned out to be very small, our response was based on the possibility that it could have turned into a major fire,” Schick said,

The Goodwill store was not occupied at the time of the fire and the cause of the fire is currently being investigated by the fire marshal.

“We are very fortunate in this community that we have a very strong and capable group of volunteer firefighters who work directly with our career firefighters to get our vehicles to the scene, attack these fires and take care of our citizens,” Schick said.

A typical fire response often includes a minimum of one fire engine, a ladder truck, at least one water tender, a chief officer, law enforcement personnel, a fire investigator and members of SVFR/WLAD’s community support team, the chief said. Additional fire engines and water tenders may be called to the scene as needed.

Later that same morning at just before 11 a.m., emergency units were dispatched to an area off Highway 101 between 20th and 21st streets after a vehicle collided with a power pole in front of McDonald's.

The impact caused the pole to splinter and separate approximately 15 feet from the ground. The broken half of the pole came down onto the front section of the vehicle and also brought down the two power lines connected to it.

Fortunately, the lines — which ran parallel to the highway — only drooped but did not touch anything below 15 to 18 feet from the ground.

Units from SVFR, WLAD, local and state police, as well as Central Lincoln PUD and Oregon Department of Transportation were on scene.

As a precaution, all northbound traffic heading toward 20th Street and southbound traffic heading to 21st Street along the highway was detoured as crews worked to assist those involved in the crash — who suffered only minor injuries — and to secure the power lines.

Traffic was re-opened in both directions along Highway 101 less than 45 minutes later.