No contaminants found in Spokane Fire Dept. breathing equipment

No contaminants found in Spokane Fire Dept. breathing equipment

Spokane Fire Department officials say investigative results reveal there were no contaminants found in firefighters’ air tanks.

The results come after firefighters notified superiors that they noticed a strange smell coming from air canisters during a routine breathing test last year. That prompted fire department leaders to take all the equipment that may be impacted out of service, relying on borrowed reserves from other area departments.

Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer and Spokane Firefighters Union President Randy Marler said two different third party vendors investigated the situation and leaders came to the conclusion Tuesday there was no danger to crews.

“I’m certainly thankful to hear that everything is clear. We tested all the equipment very thoroughly. The most important thing to me was at the end of this process, be able to tell the firefighters that we were very thorough, we checked everything and we haven’t been exposed to any toxins, harmful products through our breathing air, which is the most important piece of equipment we have,” Marler said.

Chief Schaeffer echoed that statement, adding that collaboration between all departments helped make this a successful and succinct investigation.

“This was a huge crisis that had an impact to well over 350 of our employees, of our family members lives. That’s a big deal and to be able to sit down and work through that and deal with those emotions and to deal with the bigger picture of making sure that we are protecting their lives, that’s monumental to come through this, even with this outcome,” Schaeffer said.

Both Schaeffer and Marler thanked all the departments that lent the Spokane Fire Department equipment during the investigation.

“We definitely want to extend our gratitude to all the partners that gave us our packs…we are very thankful for them and appreciate all their help,” Marler said.