The Renton Regional Fire Authority called it a “morning of rarities” on July 31 after the department responded to an aircraft crash at Renton Municipal Airport.
Renton Regional Fire Authority’s Engine 313 crew arrived to find a plane carrying two occupants upside down on the runway. The crew quickly jumped into action at the scene of the crash; however, the department says it was the composition of this team that echoed the uncommon nature of the incident – as Engine 313’s crew was composed of all female firefighters.
Both patients had reportedly sustained injuries. Crews promptly treated one patient on the scene, who refused transport, while the other patient was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Amid this, crews also managed a fuel leak, an additional challenge often associated with aviation accidents.
Responders from King County Fire District 20 in Skyway, Boeing Fire Department, and King County Medic One also contributed to the effort.
Renton Regional Fire Authority is a primary response agency in a handful of incidents at the airport each year and has only encountered one other plane crash incident in the last three years, according to the department.
“Our crews train regularly to respond effectively in all scenarios, including plane crashes. The crew’s professional and efficient reaction, despite the rarity of the incident, is a testament to their preparedness and dedication to public service,” a department statement said of the Engine 313 crew’s response effort.
Engine 313’s Lt. Theresa Weaver is a nine-year veteran of the organization and was promoted to her current position in 2020. Both firefighters Jessica Clearman and Michaela Wallace have served the Renton community for two years.
“Each of them has helped shape the face of our organization for the better and fosters a positive environment of inclusion for new members,” read a statement from the department about the Engine 313 crew members.
This year, both firefighters Clearman and Wallace volunteered to teach at the Future Women in EMS and Fire event, which helps women of all ages with hands-on experience for a variety of emergency service career paths.
“The work of the Engine 313 team today underscores the importance of diversity in the fire service. Their representation of women in firefighting helps challenge existing norms, enabling us to better reflect the communities we serve,” read a statement from the Renton Regional Fire Authority. “They possess not just the qualities of good firefighters, but they also act as symbols of progress towards greater inclusivity and diversity within our ranks.”
The Renton Regional Fire Authority took the opportunity to applaud the actions of Weaver, Clearman and Wallace, and to encourage potential fire, rescue, and response candidates from diverse backgrounds and identities to apply for positions in the department.
“We acknowledge their role in the wider narrative. Their example serves as an inspiration to all those considering a career in the fire service. We look forward to seeing more diverse applicants in our future, shaping the fabric of the fire service, and serving our community with unwavering commitment and excellence,” a Renton Regional Fire Authority statement read.