Clallam County Fire District 3 firefighters helped a 14-year-old boy across the Dungeness River on Saturday.

Call for help yields water rescue training opportunity near Sequim

When a teen got stuck on one side of the Dungeness River in late June, Clallam County Fire District 3 firefighters decided to make a training day out of the incident.

Firefighters responded at about 5 p.m. June 24 after a 14-year-old boy crossed the Dungeness River but couldn’t get back across on his own, said Assistant Chief Dan Orr.

Orr said the boy and some friends had been cooling off in the river about half a mile upstream from the Dungeness Hatchery, 1261 Fish Hatchery Road, near Sequim.

“The young man wasn’t in any distress, it was just getting across safely,” he said.

“It would have been a much different deal if he was hurt.”

Because he wasn’t hurt, firefighters turned it into a drill.

They put on dry suits and brought the boy a helmet, a life vest and shoes before floating a raft across the river.

“It was a big production,” he said. “It turned out to be a great training drill for us.”

Firefighters first arrived about 12 minutes after the 5 p.m. call went out.

By 8 p.m. the impromptu training was finished.

He said crews had talked about how a water rescue would be likely with the warm weather.

“It worked out to be a great chance to blow the cobwebs off,” he said. “It’s been a long winter.”

Jesse Major is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.

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