Rep. Joe Schmick wants Labor and Industries to apologize to Pullman, return fines for flash-flood rescue

A state lawmaker is livid with the Department of Labor and Industries for fining the City of Pullman for violations stemming from rescue operations during a flash flood in April. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

 Radio Report Transcript

SATTGAST: (:74) A flash flood from heavy rainfall on April 9th unexpectedly pushed Missouri Flat Creek outside of its banks onto Grand Avenue in Pullman – sweeping up cars, damaging buildings and trapping people inside businesses.

The Pullman Fire Department rescued 22 people, including an infant and a person having a diabetic emergency. But because crews used a front-end loader in three cases for the rescue, the state Department of Labor and Industries assessed fines totaling 27-hundred dollars for what it said was safety violations.

State Representative Joe Schmick of Colfax said the fines are ludicrous, especially given the circumstances in which people's lives were in immediate peril. . .

SCHMICK (:20) “That is totally wrong. This is government run amok. And I applaud the local fire department for thinking out of the box and getting those people rescued. The fire chief and the person in charge, he assessed that situation. He would not put his men at risk or the people that they were rescuing if they didn't feel it was a safe way of doing it.”

SATTGAST: Schmick worries the fines send the wrong message to other emergency personnel and could cause them to hesitate or second-guess how to handle a life-threatening crisis. Although the city has paid the fines, the 9th District lawmakers wants L&I to return the money with an apology. John Sattgast, Olympia.


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