Fire Chief injured spine & wrist falling from rugged Cliffdell hillside

Search For Missing Hunter Seattle Deputy Fire Chief Yakima County Kittitas County Cliffdell
Credit: KAPP-KVEW

CLIFFDELL, Wash. — An autopsy reveals that late Deputy Chief Jay Schreckengost of the Seattle Fire Department suffered fractures to his wrist and spine; likely the result of him falling in damp, rugged terrain in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

After nearly two weeks of searching, the Deputy Chief’s body was recovered at the bottom of a harsh, 700-foot slope off Forest Service Rd 1703 near Cliffdell.

Authorities believe that he slipped off the hillside while scouting for Elk on the morning of Tuesday, November 2 with a light, damp layer of snow coating the terrain.

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The severity of his injuries made it so that the Deputy Chief was unable to safely climb back up or descend the hillside. Kittitas County investigators believe he fell once more to the bottom of the slope, causing a fatal spinal fracture.

He came to rest in a region that was covered by thick brush, making it difficult for Search & Rescue teams to locate his remains without extensive climbing equipment and a highly-trained team.

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The Search & Rescue experts who eventually located his body were comprised of Mountain Rescue team members from Seattle, Tacoma, Everett.

They joined members of the Olympic and Central Mountain Rescue Teams to traverse this dangerous terrain and complete the search.

The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office confirms that the autopsy was completed earlier this week, and Schreckengost’s remains were transported back to Seattle by SFD crews.

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