We serve the communities of Moclips, Pacific Beach, Aloha and Seabrook, Washington. We are located on the North Beach of Grays Harbor County.
WHO IS GHFD #8
A 50 Year History of GHFD #8
By Vivian Matsen
(transcribed quickly, by Shari Curtright)
1. After a large fire in Moclips, in 1959, Bill Zack and Roy Tottie talked to the Aberdeen Fire Dept. to find out how they might start a fire dept.
2. The Aloha Lumber Company purchased the first fire truck, an old GI rig, and the first ambulance "the Blue Bomb" - an old Chevy Suburban. The company kept the truck in a garage in Aloha (across from the tavern). Later, the company gave the district the garage and it was sometime afterward that the commissioners discovered the district owned the building but not the land. ITT Rayonier owned the land.
Eventually, the bus garage at the old Moclips school (at the bottom of the hill) was used as a fire truck garage until a new garage was built near the river. The property was given to the 'Moclips Community Club', and they turned it over to us later.
Some of the first members included Jim Harvey (who was a first aid instructor), Bob Harper, & (Wild)Willie Whitbeck. Most of the fire and ambulance crew were from the Aloha mill and could assist while on the job. It was indeed a "scoop and run" affair. The highest certification for the ambulance crew was Basic First Aid, until the State stepped in.
3. In the '60's, a fire hall was built in Pacific Beach. All three fire halls, Pacific Beach, Moclips, and Aloha were used until the new fire station was built, in 2002
4. In 1978, the State mandated that the ambulance crew had to increase their medical certification qualification level to "Advanced First Aid".
4. In 1979, a group of community members attended an EMT class, the first for this district. At that time, there were about 10 ambulance crew members which included Myrna Figg, Chris Walthers, Kathy Balaki, Linda and Larry Shelton Bob Webb, and Marion Keeney. Lolly Roberts attended the first or second EMT class also. There were 5 local dispatchers at the time and you could say they were the pioneers of "networking". There was one emergency phone number, and 5 dispatchers. Whoever happened to pick up the phone first, dispatched the ambulance.
5. From 1979 to 1980, The Aloha mill gave the community "the Blue Bomb".
6. In 1980, the community bought a red and white Dodge Van from Quinault for about $3,000 to $5,0000. It was used from 1980 to 1983.
7. In 1983, the district bought a brand new 1983 Braughn ambulance for about $55,000. Vivian Matsen and Pat Davis traveled to Ohio to bring it back. The District also purchased the first real fire truck (8701), which we still have. It was a brand new 1984 model. Still looks good!
8. In 2002, the new community center/ fire station was built, by the overwhelming support of the community, through their approval of a tax levy.
9. In 2004, the communities of Moclips, Aloha, Pacific Beach, and Seabrook, again generously supported the district in obtaining a brand new 2004 Braughn ambulance through donations and grants. This time it was delivered to us……. from the manufacturer in Centralia.
From 1989 through 2008, the ambulance has responded to an average of 139 calls per year, with the lowest year comprising of 113 calls and the highest 176. The ambulance department has been staffed with between 4 and 10 EMTs throughout the same time period. Currently, we are down to 4.
Overall, the Fire Department has had approximately 224 crew members during the period between 1959 and 2005. These 224 put in an average of about 4 1/2 years in the department, with a range of less than a year to 40 years. The number of Fire Dept. members over the years, has ranged from 11 to 39.