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 Thumbnail History of Hoodsport Fire and EMS


In 1940, by more than an 80% margin, Hoodsport residents voted to create the first Fire Protection District in Mason County as well as their first 3 fire commissioner’s H.R.Dickinson, J.C.Mekiel, H.E.Lockwood. Archie Callahan would be appointed as the first fire Chief. Despite WWII, through a combination of local taxes and local fund raising such as sponsored dances, craft bazaars, and diners they soon had their first fire engine and over a dozen volunteers. Like all fire departments, they provided fire suppression for buildings and brush fires through their district and often aided other communities as well as the Forest Service crews also stationed in Hoodsport during fire season and medical transportation before ambulances were available. Some notable events included saving the town from a likely explosion of two propane tanks adjacent to a dock fire that sent 40’ flames over Hood Canal.  In another event a roof fire near Eldon Hoodsport Fire, with their single fire engine supported by two water tankers from the Forest Service saved a woodshed and many cabins. Hoodsport Fire would also be involved in many rescues at popular diver destinations, such as Octopus Hole and respond to the many slides that endanger SR 101 and steep property along Hood Canal. 


By the mid 70s, the Lake Cushman Development population had reached several hundred residents as well as hundreds more vacation summer homes. Recognizing the need, in 1976, the residents voted to establish Fire District 18, Lake Cushman Fire. Don Johnson would be their first Chief. Fitting their remote location, as much as 45 minutes from the nearest hospital, they’d not only develop an active fire protection agency, but also a basic life support ambulance service often having half dozen emergency medical technicians. They would often find themselves in mutual aid of Hoodsport Fire supporting structure and wildland fires as well as medical calls in each other’s districts as well as the  adjacent fire districts of Union, Hamma Hamma, Skokomish Fire and in National Lands near Staircase and on Mt Ellinor. 


The 21st century would bring many challenges and demands to all volunteer fire departments including difficulty recruiting, increasing professional fire and EMS requirements, and emergency responder demand from greater use of 911. In addition to these trends, Hoodsport was seeing a large influx of elderly residents and one of the fastest growing population centers in the county.  By 2018 Hoodsport Fire and Lake Cushman Fire began training together and exploring a possible merger to reduce overhead of administrative cost, and gain efficiencies in training and equipment purchases . In 2020, the Fire Commissioners of both districts would plan for a merger and with consent of the residents of Hoodsport Fire District, voted to merge their fire district with that of Lake Cushman fire effective January 2021 under the operating name of Hoodsport Fire and EMS.