This episode is part 1 of a 2-part interview with Fire Chief Mike Beutler as he shares the details of an incident where he was trapped under a roof collapse while working at a commercial building fire.
Length: 32 minutes
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At the time of the call, Mike Beutler responded as a volunteer firefighter with the Happy Valley Fire District (Oregon) to a commercial structure fire in a strip mall in the neighboring community of Damascus. Upon arrival, they found a True Value Hardware store fully involved with flames through the roof and blowing out the front windows. While operating a hand line from the exterior, Mike stepped under the mansard overhang to advance to the front windows of the now fully involved auto parts store. Moments later, a section of the overhang, approximately 30 feet in length (900 to 1,000 lbs per roofing square), collapsed directly on top of him, pinning him to the ground and surrounding him with flames.
Mike Beutler, Fire Chief of Wahkiakum County Fire District #1 on Puget Island, Washington, was appointed to the volunteer position in August of 2016. Chief Beutler began his fire service career in 1978 with the Happy Valley Rural Fire District in Oregon, where his father was the district’s first fire chief, serving from 1954 until 1966.
Mike has spent the past 30 years in the fire equipment industry, selling ambulances, fire apparatus, water flow equipment, and wildland fire pumps, as well as spending time as a contract administrator for a regional fire apparatus manufacturer.
He currently oversees the fire apparatus division for Mallory Safety & Supply, an industrial safety supply company and wildland fire apparatus manufacturer located in Longview, Washington. Mike has made a commitment to developing new apparatus concepts that create a safer environment for those working on or around wildland apparatus.
Mike enjoys traveling with his wife in their travel trailer, playing on the river in their boat, woodworking, vehicle restoration, and antique fire apparatus. His pride and joy is the 1964 fire engine his father designed for Happy Valley that he restored back to original condition.
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Chief Mike Beutler
Puget Island Fire Department
Wahkiakum County Fire District #1
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