Washington rescue crews search for missing Seattle deputy fire chief

KITTITAS COUNTY, Wash.– The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office and volunteer search and rescue crews are looking for a Seattle Fire Department deputy chief.

Rescue crews say Jay Schreckengost went elk hunting in Kittitas County earlier this week but has not been heard from since Nov. 2.

On that day, he texted his family saying he left a cabin near State Road 410 and would be out hunting in the area, according to the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office. Schreckengost’s family told investigators that was the last time they heard from him.

On Wednesday, Schreckengost’s pickup was found in the Cliffdell area by search and rescue crews. It became the center of the search, investigators say.

As of Thursday morning, search and rescue crews had seven teams of ground searchers, four K9 search teams, and infrared-equipped drones from both Kittitas and Yakima counties. Dozens of volunteers from the Seattle Fire Department have also joined in to search for their missing deputy chief.

The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office says the search is taking place in the southwest corner of Kittitas County near the Yakima County border. Search and rescue crews say the area they’re searching is “in remote and challenging mountainous terrain.” They are asking anyone not involved in the search to avoid the area.

Search and rescue crews say they are hoping to find Schreckengost before the bad weather forecast for the weekend moves in.

Anyone who has any information they believe could help locate Chief Schreckengost is asked to call Kittcom, the unified Kittitas County emergency dispatch center, at 509-925-8534.