WA Fire Chief Dies While Fighting Wildfire

Longtime Colfax Fire Chief Jim Krouse died from an apparent heart attack while fighting a wildfire Saturday afternoon.

Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho

(MCT)

Aug. 30—Longtime Colfax Fire Chief Jim Krouse died from an apparent heart attack while fighting a wildfire Saturday afternoon, according to a news release from the department.

Krouse, who served as a volunteer firefighter in Colfax for 52 years — 40 of them as chief — was responding to a fire on Green Hollow Road, north of Colfax, at about 3 p.m. when he collapsed while pulling hose.

According to the release, Colfax ambulance responded and provided emergency medical care for Krouse, who was then taken to Whitman Hospital and Medical Center in Colfax.

Fire crews from Albion, Steptoe and Palouse as well as Fire Districts 11 and 12 aided Colfax city and rural departments in controlling the fire on Green Hollow Road.

When crews had extinguished the flames, they assembled at the hospital to form a procession with the ambulance carrying Krouse’s body, draped with an American flag, and were escorted to Bruning Funeral Home by the Whitman County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Patrol. Funerary arrangements for Krouse are pending at Bruning Funeral Home, the release said.

When word spread of Krouse’s death, Pullman Assistant Fire Chief Ryan Scharnhorst and an ambulance went to Colfax to help with their emergency calls. The Moscow Volunteer Fire Department also sent personnel to help with emergencies in the area.

Because there was a fatality with the fire, Pullman Fire Marshal Chris Wehring and Assistant Fire Marshal Tony Nutman were sent to investigate the scene to help determine a cause. As of Saturday evening, the cause remains unknown.

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