Camas Washougal begin trial fire service merger

first_imgOn Wednesday, Camas and Washougal firefighters and medics performed their duties the same way they have for decades. Yet, unbeknownst to most observers, a small piece of history was being made.Camas and Washougal’s fire departments began their six-month trial consolidation Wednesday. As part of the merger, fire officials from both departments held a joint meeting and firefighters and medics from each department rode with their counterparts on emergency calls. “We’re building a new team,” Camas Fire Chief Nick Swinhart said. “We’re going to be a family now. We’re going to work between departments.”Fire officials expect the temporary merger will lead to quicker response times and lower costs, particularly overtime expenses. The results of the six-month trial will likely decide whether Camas and Washougal make the merger permanent in 2012.“If it works like we theorize it will, it will represent a way to keep services solvent for the future and be able to provide the same services residents expect,” said Swinhart, who replaced acting fire chief Monte Brachmann last week.last_img read more