DCFD4 celebrates new residence

Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Zanol and Fire Chief Jim Oatey at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Orondo fire station residence. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)


By Darlene Paterson
Empire Press Correspondent

Firefighters and auxiliary of Douglas County Fire District 4 gathered June 19 at the main fire station in Orondo to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new residence.

“This has been a longtime coming,” Fire Chief Jim Oatey commented. “We have been dreaming about this for years.”

“In 2001, we had a meeting to plan for the future,” he continued. “We first talked about putting in residence quarters at that time. Thanks to our community for passing our fall levy, it has now become reality.”

The three-bedroom modular home can house four residents at a time. It is fully furnished with everything from kitchen utensils to bath towels. Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Zanol and his wife Tammy chose the tasteful furnishings for each room.

As firefighters and auxiliary members gathered beside the new residence, Oatey began by making several award presentations.

Auxiliary President Sharon Podlich received a certificate of appreciation for her five years of service with the auxiliary.

Pat Brandt was honored for his 25 years with the fire department. Brandt is also the current fire commissioner.

“It’s been great to proceed with the plans for this residence and see it continue to become reality,” Brandt commented.

Firefighter Justin Dennis received a certificate for completing firefighter school in Wenatchee. One important skill he learned was the use of a stabilization tool during car accidents.

Scott Carter and Isidro Sanchez were honored for answering a call to assist the Waterville EMS with a cardiac arrest patient. They administered CPR and revived the patient who is alive and well today.

Oatey thanked the Zanols for all they had done. “You have been instrumental in making this happen, furnishing the residence, and so much more. We really appreciate it,” he said.

Oatey asked Zanol and David Marden, who was also involved in the process, to cut the ribbon, presenting each with gold scissors. The red ribbon was promptly cut to the applause of all.

The door opened for the firefighters to view the residence and have cake furnished by the auxiliary women.

“We are hoping this residence will inspire new volunteers to join our ranks,” firefighter Pat McCall said.

“The goal is to recruit new volunteer firefighters who will commit to living at the residence for their two-year training period,” Oatey said. “Having firefighters in residence should make a big difference in our response times.”

“Our Orondo firefighters number about 40,” Zanol commented. “We meet twice monthly for training meetings. We also enjoy things like our annual Christmas party and summer picnics. Our auxiliary women furnish a meal for us every month or so and we really appreciate that,” he concluded.

Anyone interested in joining the force can find information on the website at dcfd4.com or by visiting Orondo Firefighters Association on Facebook.