Washington National Guard helping first responders after winter storm

NORTH BEND, Wash. -- The Washington National Guard is helping first responders reach those hardest hit by the recent rash of winter storms.

Soldiers and airmen are out assisting crews, using military vehicles in some cases, to help reach neighborhoods and homes.

Fire station 87 in North Bend is a hub for activity, mostly because the conditions there remain some of the worst on the Eastside. Many of the side streets are still impassable, making it difficult for first responders to get help to those who need it most.

"It's an extra set of hands to help us on some of the calls," said Eastside Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Dana Schutter. "Some of the side streets haven't been plowed, and some of the driveways are really long. Their vehicles have a high access, so we're trailing along behind our rigs to the call. And if we have an access issue where our rigs can't get into it, we'll transfer the equipment to theirs and have them finish getting us to the actual address and facilitate the call. Their personnel have also been helping with that."

The National Guard says it has about 20 soldiers out and another 30 airmen and more vehicles coming.

"They tell us where we need to go and we'll go and support our local first responders," said Washington National Guard Brig. Gen. Jeremy Horn.

It's unclear how long the National Guard plans to stay on the Eastside and help with recovery efforts. The general in charge of coordinating those efforts told Q13 they will stay as long as first responders need them there.

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