Fire officials describe preparation

By Vancouver Energy On July 14, 2016

Fire officials took the stand during today’s adjudication proceedings.

--Vancouver Fire Chief Joe Molina said unit oil trains are already traveling through the city, and his department has made extensive preparations to ensure safety. The city fire department studied rail crossings, infrastructure near the rail line and the department’s response capabilities in order to be prepared, Molina said. This was preparation the department would have done whether the Vancouver Energy terminal is built or not, since the oil trains are already coming through Vancouver, he said.

Molina said the Vancouver Fire Department has a good relationship with BNSF Railway, on whose tracks oil trains currently travel through the city and trains to Vancouver Energy will travel.

--Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Fire Chief in Spokane, testified that his department also works closely with BNSF Railway, which has a rail yard near the Spokane department’s training center. The oil trains heading to Vancouver Energy will also travel on BNSF tracks in Spokane.

According to Schaeffer, the Spokane department and BNSF often train together, including Spokane firefighters working with BNSF tank cars and BNSF serving with the city on the Greater Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee. “There is seamless integration between us and them when it comes to training,” Schaeffer said.