Heavy rain and rising river place a family out for fun into troubleBY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER Local fire departments put their skills to the test Barely a week into spring and Snohomish County has once again experienced the unpredictability of Mother Nature.
On March 24 a dispatch signal was sent out for a technical rescue to save a family in trouble. The call came in around 12:30 p.m. and dispatched according to Granite Falls Fire Department’s Assistant Chief Garrett.
A family of three had decided to venture down to watch the raging waters along the Granite Falls fish ladder when suddenly they found themselves trapped.
A cell phone was used by the family to contact 911 to inform them of their trouble.
Once the dispatch was made, the Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Arlington, Marysville and Robe Fire departments converged on location to assist in the rescue.
Lt. Eric Cole of the GFFD was the incident chief on site and explained that the family wanted them to rescue the child first, followed by the wife, then husband.
According to Cole, one of the heavy steel grates along the fish ladder may have lifted up making it difficult and unsafe for the hikers to make their way down the fish ladder to safety.
The rescue involved attaching a safety line and hooks onto a metal railing that follows the fish ladder to the top where the family had been trapped.
Once the line and hooks were secure, two rescuers hooked themselves to the safety line much like a mountain climber would do and ascended to the waiting family.
“We had two people go up, and escort them down one at a time,” Cole said.
With the heavy accumulation of rain, the river can rise very quickly and catch people off guard.
Cole said that this is exactly what the dangers are with swift moving water. It rises so quickly, that you may not know where you are and get caught off guard, much like what happened in this situation.
The family was very fortunate that no one fell into the raging river. With the terrain such as it is and the swift currents, swift water rescue may not have been possible at that particular location.
Cole says that this is an area that they prefer people to stay away from right now because of the rising water.
With the help and skill of the fire rescue personnel the family managed to make it to safety.