Despite the serendipity of Orcas Island Fire and Rescue Captain Bob Nutt driving a fire department tanker truck Saturday afternoon (February 9, 2013) when he spotted smoke and flames coming from the Orcas Exchange, the iconic decades-old island recycling/reuse facility could not be saved. Nutt, who had been headed back to the station after training recruits all day, called for additional help and began firefighting operations.
When Nutt arrived at 4:48 p.m. there was significant fire involvement in the heart of the Exchange complex with flames extending to the trees in the area.
Orcas Island Fire Chief Kevin O'Brien said forty-five OIFR members and ten units responded to the incident that lasted over five hours. Water was transported by OIFR tenders from a pond located approximately one half mile away from the fire.
There were no injuries to civilians or responders.
Preliminary evidence is leading investigators to believe the cause of the fire to be an accidental electrical situation; however, the final determination is pending.
Chief O'Brien said special thanks goes to the OIFR volunteer responders and Auxiliary members for their hard work and dedication in helping the community.
Orcas Island Fire and Rescue recommends islanders practice fire safety in their homes: change smoke detector batteries when you change your clocks, perform emergency exit drills, have a working fire extinguisher and make sure your chimney is clean.
More information about the Exchange can be found on the Exchange Facebook page.